‘Bus Stop’ in Peoria, Illinois

Another production of William Inge’s Bus Stop will be staged at the Peoria Civic Center, Illinois, on February 26 at 8pm. Appropriately, it is produced by the Montana Repertory Theatre (in the play, Bo wants to marry Cherie and take her to his ranch in Montana.)

“William Inge is such a great part of our dramatic literature in this country. It’s a desire to celebrate – as Inge did – the people of America. He said he celebrated the people of the Heartland. I think at this point in time when we are losing our faith in our institutions, perhaps and losing our faith in many of the things that we have believed in for so long, I think that one of the places where we can rediscover faith is in the American people. I think that is what Inge was writing about.”

Jere Lee Hodgin, director, quoted in Peoria Journal Star feature

Marilyn in the Blogosphere

Andy Warhol’s Nine Multi-Colored Marilyns (Reversal Series) (1979-86) sold for £3.2 million at Sotheby’s, London, last Tuesday, after the auction was interrupted by protesters campaigning against cuts to public services, including the arts.

John Reznikoff, of University Archives, has spoken publicly for the first time about the Cusack Papers, a series forged documents relating to Marilyn and John F. Kennedy, which surfaced during the 1990s. The papers initially duped many people, including certain biographers, until they were exposed as fakes by ABC News. For more details, and to listen to the interview, visit MM Collection Blog.

Meanwhile, over at The MMM Blog, Melinda reviews the current exhibition, ‘Marilyn in Canada’, at the McMichael, Toronto.

Erwitt’s Marilyn: Sequentially Yours

The Guardian reviews a new Elliott Erwitt exhibition, showing at London’s Atlas Gallery until March 19, including a series following Marilyn during filming of the famous ‘subway scene’ in The Seven Year Itch, NYC, 1954.

“Photographing Marilyn Monroe … Erwitt plays at being the flâneur whose wanderings around the city are prompted by erotic opportunism. Here there is no need for a narrative, a diptych or trilogy that organises images into a short story. Monroe, unlike the characters in the other sequences, sticks to her assigned spot…The result is an array of poems written with light, contrasting the self-conscious stance of the woman…with the uncontrollable antics of the dress, which behaves in successive frames like a flaunting tail, an inverted flower, a soft shell or a billowing parachute. ”

MM Film Season in New Jersey

A screening of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes heads a month-long ‘Essential Marilyn Monroe Film Series’ at Middletown Library, NJ. on Monday, February 28, at 7pm. Admission free.

Here’s the full schedule:

Monday, February 28th, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1953)

Monday, March 7th, “The Seven Year Itch” (1955)

Monday, March 14th, “Bus Stop” (1956)

Monday, March 21st, “The Prince and the Showgirl” (1957)

Monday, March 28th, “Some Like It Hot” (1959)

Marilyn in Canada: Red, White and Blonde

Shop window, Niagara, CA – photo by Alexandre Meadu

Peter Goddard has reviewed ‘Life as a Legend’ and ‘Marilyn in Canada’, both now showing at Toronto’s The McMichael.

‘Norma Jeane Baker was naked, not yet “a nude,” in posing for Kelley. Her pale arms are outstretched behind her head, thrusting out her breasts. Elsewhere her arms are reaching up and above her head to elongate her languid body shape. Her face suggests a post-coital glow. Her ruby red lips are parted ever so slightly, as are her brilliantly white teeth, to suggest the pleasure she feels, not the pleasure she was determined to elicit in the viewer’s gaze.

This was Norma Jeane on the cusp of developing the Monroe look, the chilly hauteur killer stare the actress brought to each studio-sanctioned headshot, her eyes looking zoned out, her hair off her forehead except for a well-placed curl. (Only Mel Ramos, king of the pin-up drawings, ever imagined Monroe as happy.)

My uncertainty about the enormity of raw anger in this look, found everywhere in the show, led me to contact Natalka Husar, the talented Toronto painter and art teacher whose own work has led to her portraying rebellious and often fierce young women.

“MM as a mask of anger makes me think of de Kooning’s women, ferocious yet bombshells,” Husar replied in an email. Monroe’s red lips, “usually open and supposedly a come-on, really seem to be saying f-off. There’s attitude masking a pain.” ‘

Read this article in full at the Toronto Star

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Larry McMurtry on Marilyn

Larry McMurtry is an American novelist and screenwriter. Many of his stories have been adapted for film, including Hud, The Last Picture Show, Terms of Endearment and Lonesome Dove. In the latest issue of the New York Review of Books, McMurtry reviews three of the latest Marilyn-related books: Fragments, Maf the Dog, and MM: Personal.

“She was almost always photographed smiling, her lips slightly parted, her skin aglow with an aura all its own, and yet there was usually a curl of sadness in her smile: sadness that just managed to fight through; sadness that was always considerable and sometimes intense…Of the three books under review, easily the most accessible is MM—Personal. Marilyn Monroe, particularly during the decades of the 1940s and 1950s, was arguably the most famous woman on earth…Read together, the three books remind one of what a lot went out of American life with the passing of Marilyn Monroe; the important thing about her was her spirit, not whether she went to bed with a president and his brother.”

Read the article in full here

‘Monkey Business’ Reappraised

Film critic Peter Bradshaw, of The Guardian, thinks Howard Hawks’ Monkey Business (1952), featuring Marilyn as inept secretary Miss Laurel, is an ‘ace ape jape’:

“It is part romp, part druggie-surrealist masterpiece, and a complete joy. ‘Monkey Business’ is undervalued by some, on account of its alleged inferiority to the master’s 30s pictures, and the accident of sharing a title with a film by the Marx Brothers. I can only say that this film whizzes joyfully along with touches of pure genius: at once sublimely innocent and entirely worldly…Dr Fulton drinks [a youth drug]; his short sight is cured and he instantly gets a new youthful haircut, jacket, and snazzy roadster, in which he takes smitten secretary Lois (Marilyn Monroe) for a day’s adventures. (The memory of Grant with his Coke-bottle glasses exchanging dialogue with the entranced Marilyn was revived eight years later by Tony Curtis in ‘Some Like It Hot.’)”

Full review at The Guardian

Monkey Business screens tomorrow at 6pm, NFT2,  in London’s BFI Southbank, as part of the ongoing Howard Hawks season. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes follows at 8.30 pm. Marilyn’s two collaborations with Hawks will also feature in a Hawks season at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse Cinema next month.