Tuesday, May 16, 2006
I finally saw Lady Sings the Blues recently, the 1970s flick starring Diana Ross as the tragic singer Billie Holiday. Billy Dee Williams swans in as the brilliantined dandy who sweeps her off her feet and sets up house with her. (What is it about Billy Dee Williams that always makes me think *ting* when he flashes that megawatt smile? ) This is a film I'm pleased to have seen once, but I don't know if I'll ever re-visit. The tragic circumstances and horrors of racism seem too pat and obvious a trope to explain her slide into addiction to smack. Things must have been more complicated than that. Sad story.
Woot! Diana Ross. There's an onion wants peeling, eh? First there was all the crap with Nancy and Flo, when Diana was pulled to the fore of the Supremes and overshadowed her creative partners. Jilted! I'm sure the spittle of bitterness will never dry between those three. Then there was her bizarre personal interest in the pre-pubescent Michael Jackson. Ease on down the road, would you, but by all means, avoid The Wiz like the plague. Diana was obviously going down the stony end when she was blitzed at some award show at the podium and made free to give Lil Kim's pastied mam a little bounce. Well, shit, she was just doing something half the people in the audience were thinking of doing. BFD, right? Phlegmmy's First Rule of Bad Behavior™: by all means, do not allow people to document your meltdowns - it makes them harder to deny later on. Then there came Diana's arrest for driving under the influence a year or so ago (in Phoenix?). They never actually gave her a field sobriety test, and I think charges were dropped. That's normal, right? The cops wouldn't give her a free ride just because she's a celebrity, would they? Oh, but if they film her arrest story, it could be called "Lady Plays the Blues." Diana may get caught on film copping a feel of nubile pop stars, and she may have enough sadness in her life to justify getting potted and driving recklessly, but at least she's getting away with it. In showbiz, by all means, be a mess - just don't get fat.