We’ve long had Cynthia Nixon on our radar, whether as part of the Sex and the City crew or for her public revelation, in 2008, of her own recent breast cancer. The latter gives special gravitas, we think, to this particular member of WVFC’s series on Tony-Nominated Women with Honors. Nixon is being nominated for her performance, at Manhattan Theatre Club, in Margaret Edson’s Pulitzer-winning play Wit—an added reason why, perhaps, “Ms. Nixon seems to construct perfectly composed, illuminating and surprising thoughts with her sky-blue eyes—the kind of thoughts that if you saw them in print would make you stop and savor and reread,” as Ben Brantley described the performances in The New York Times. Whether Nixon ends up with a statuette or not, we suspect that the words “Best Actress” will remain hers forever.
Next in our series of WVFC BFFs recently surprised with Tony nominations: Linda Lavin, honored for The Lyons, which was described by The New York Times as ” Nicky Silver’s savagely sentimental portrait of familial loneliness.” Those who’ve loved Lavin for years—perhaps when she was first nominated in 1970 for Last of the Red Hot Lovers, or when she won in 1987 for Broadway Bound, or for her years as TV’s Everywoman in Alice—cannot help but root for her this time.
- “Milestone” birthdays: What do we do with them? And why do they keep coming? At “Lovin’ the Alien,” WVFC’s Alexandra MacAaron takes that challenge and runs with it, with “Fifty reasons to be glad” to turn 50. Some of the fifty will feel familiar—”I don’t have to feel guilty if I want to go to bed early” and “I don’t even try to wear high heels anymore (except on very special occasions),” and some less familiar but still entertaining: “Once, thanks to my best friend’s mother, I got to meet Mr. Rogers.” Click over for the rest, if only for the hilarious Ethel Barrymore movie poster.
- WVFC fashion editor Stacey Bewkes has had a packed year, crossing continents and winning awards for her design blog Quintessence. And last week, Bewkes covered a special event closer to home: Design on a Dime, which Bewkes called “one of the most popular design events in the New York community. Benefiting Housing Works‘ programs for homeless and low-income New Yorkers living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, it attracts more than 50 top tier designers who create rooms with donated merchandise, which is then sold for 50-70% off retail.” At the event’s opening night, she adds, “This spring’s vignettes were fabulous and judging by the lines at checkout, the evening was a huge success.” As befits a former art director at Simon & Schuster, Bewkes sees some of the interiors as fine art: “The open fretwork-like American walnut folding screen from High Point favorite Lazy Susan gave the space the illusion of height, giving the “impression of a space beyond what we can see.” Click over for more, including glowing photos of it all.
- The just-announced Tony nominations include many goodies for WVFC (more on that later), not least a nod to 51, for her role playing Judy Garland in Under the Rainbow. At Broadway&Me, Jan Simpson explains why: “Bennett is giving the kind of leave-your-heart-on-the-stage performance that even Garland might applaud.” Simpson felt only so-so about the play itself, she explains, but “Bennett is a dynamo onstage and, like Garland, she seems willing to do anything to make you love her. According to the New York Post, Bennett is even playing hostess at a bar that’s been set up backstage to entertain visiting celebrities after the show Although she doesn’t really look like Garland, isn’t as magnetically charismatic (who is?) and isn’t as soulful a singer . . . Bennett is terrific when it comes to portraying the star’s desperate neediness, maddening stubbornness, and endearing ability to laugh at herself.” Buy your tickets now.
- Nashville TV journalist Renee Syler has seen a lot of transitions over the years, but finds herself reflecting at her blog Good Enough Mother about one of the most puzzling: “My mission, when I accepted it nearly 17 years ago, was to raise first one and then (SURPRISE!) two kids. My objective in life had shifted from writing the All American Novel destined to change the world to turning these two drooling tiny little miniature people into giving, caring, and productive members of society. This week, I blinked to find that, for one of the boys, that ride is almost over.” Syler describes an unaccustomed lunch with her older son, 17: “There was something humbling in watching my child grow up, make grown up decisions, and hold an adult conversation right before my very eyes.” Syler takes a deep breath and reminds herself that “baby steps I guess is the thing to remember. Lots and lots of baby steps. As for my overall goal to change the world via my children . . . well . . . we’ll count this lunch as a mid-term exam of sorts.”
- Our profile yesterday of umpire Perry Barber came just in time for the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the landmark legislation that opened the world of sports to more women. On the Issues‘ spring issue explores that legacy in depth, including where it still falls short—including the movies, writes producer Ariel Dougherty in “Films Lag in Sharing Women’s Athletic Dreams.” “I was 13 when Wilma Rudolph became the first American woman to win three Olympic gold medals in track and field in Rome in 1960,” writes Dougherty, a co-founder of Women Make Movies, who pulled in Rudolph to narrate her first documentary about it in 1972: “We envisioned a documentary that explored different levels of sport by focusing on a professional team, an amateur team and a community sports activity.” Forty years later, she says, there are still far too few films to provide role models women: only “31 dramatic features and documentaries” are on a list from The Women’s Sports Foundation. It’s important because “Women’s sports media on the Internet has a huge potential,” Dougherty concludes, “These tales of courage and overcoming adversity are powerful film subjects.” Click over for a thorough discussion, including history, analysis, and clips like the one below, about an early 20th-century girls’ basketball team at the Fort Shaw Indian School (portrayed top right), who became world champions in 1902 competing with non-Indian teams from all over the country.