QUEEN ELIZABETH

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Elizabeth Taylor photographed by Herb Ritts in 1997 at her home in Bel Air soon after her surgery to remove a benign brain tumor. This podcast was recorded at her Bel Air home the next month.

In Part One of this latest in sessumsMagazine.com’s DIGITALIZED DIALOGUES series, you can hear for the first time this exclusive archival podcast of Elizabeth Taylor telling us about her HIV/AIDS activism, the memories of her English childhood and her art dealer father, why she cried herself to sleep as a child when her family moved to Hollywood, her near-death experiences from her own illnesses, and why she referred to herself as a “big white mama.”  You get to hear her unmistakable laugh as well: a self-deprecating cackle shot through with kindness and an incongruously crude kind of grandeur, which is, come to think of it, an apt description of Hollywood royalty for which she will always reign as queen.  

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For his 2018 Fall Ready-to-Wear show, Thom Browne cited as his muse Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun.

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This is Le Brun. Click below to compare her timeless vision with Browne's newest one.


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Turner is a staunch supporter of Planned Parenthood.

TURNER CLASSIC

Kathleen Turner is bringing her one-woman show, "Finding My Voice" to London in April and May. It is a voice served up like Tallulah Bankhead's on wry toast. Indeed, if anyone has a voice made for a podcast, it is Kathleen Turner. I find the woman deeply likable. Decent. Even vulnerable.

(Yes, vulnerable. Give it a listen. I think she will surprise you.)

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Sarah Jessica Parker photographed by Yu Tsai

THE CHAT

Listen to Part Two of this podcast conversation between actress and activist and fashion entrepreneur Sarah Jessica Parker and Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, as they discuss politics, as well as what gives them hope and what gives them joy, including their love of ballet and the importance of Misty Copeland to the dance world.

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SJP and Darren Walker at Via Carota in Greenwich Village

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LEGENDS, LADDIES, & LADIES: THE PORTRAITURE OF PHOTOGRAPHER JESSE FROHMAN 

“A PHOTOGRAPHIC PORTRAIT IS A PICTURE OF SOMEONE WHO KNOWS HE IS BEING PHOTOGRAPHED, AND WHAT HE DOES WITH THIS KNOWLEDGE IS AS MUCH A PART OF THE PHOTOGRAPH AS WHAT HE’S WEARING OR HOW HE LOOKS,” SAID RICHARD AVEDON.  JESSE FROHMAN, WHOSE PORTRAITS OF DIRECTOR SPIKE LEE AND VIOLINIST SARAH CHANG ARE RECENT ACQUISITIONS OF THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY IN WASHINGTON, D.C., IS, LIKE AVEDON, A MODERNIST WORKING IN AN UNERRING TRADITIONALIST MODE.  CLICK ON THE TITLE ABOVE TO SEE MORE OF HIS WORK: ICE CUBE, DANIEL DAY-LEWIS, JAMES BROWN, ANDREW GARFIELD, AND NICK CAVE, AMONG OTHERS.

(Above, left to right: Kurt Cobain, Fredrik, Carrie Donovan)

 

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Photo by Liz Hafalia

WELCOME TO SESSUMSMAGAZINE. COM. THE PODCAST ISSUE.

First of all, thank you for your patience.  I have been turning my life around so it was a bit difficult the last few weeks turning around this site with new content.  Those of you who follow me on Facebook are aware that I am moving back to the east coast from San Francisco.  I decided to do this when I was in New York City over Thanksgiving and from that moment to this one, as I sit here typing this Editor’s Letter on New Year’s Eve in North Beach at Caffe Greco, I have given up my apartment atop Telegraph Hill and found a loft in Hudson, New York.  The moving van is now on its way there.  I will follow it in a week.  Life goes on.  And so does sessumsMagazine.com.  It was, indeed, a kind of lifeline to me after a bit of a rocky start.  But that rockiness is all in the past now.  On to the Hudson River and a new kind of flow in my life as I reconnect with old friends and reignite my east coast life where I lived for 38 years before my four here in California.  I will always be grateful for the experience here but it is time for the “amen” to this four-year prayer, which is sort of what my life in San Francisco was about as I navigated a life in recovery with all its twists and turns and valleys and peaks. 

It was an awful year in lots of ways personally for me.  Lots of valleys.  I lost my beloved dog Archie last January.  He had cancer and died in my arms in the apartment I am now leaving – which will always be the place Archie herded be toward and then departed when he was certain finally that I was capable of herding myself.  I almost died from kidney failure in April.  I had an operation on my prostate in May.  I lost my job at the Curran Theatre.  Donald Trump continued to trample the country.

And yet.

I did launch this online magazine which is still in its cultural infancy but is already becoming, I hope, part of a larger cultural conversation.  In that regard, I decided to make this latest iteration a special podcast issue filled with conversations you can listen to yourselves.  Two people who have voices made for podcasts are Kathleen Turner and Don Bachardy, who are both featured this month.  Bette Midler stars in the latest Digital Dialogues which are archival podcasts of my past interviews with the biggest stars in show business.  Also Sarah Jessica Parker and The Ford Foundation’s Darren Walker have a spirited and deeply informed conversation about where we are as a country right now – how we can trip up the tramplers if we trust in our own graceful gate  – in the latest version of sessumsMagazine.com‘s The Chat.

Thank you for continuing to be a part of the conversation I am setting out to have with the community we are building here. 

Here’s to 2018.  And to community.  And to kindness – for kindness has carried me this year when I didn’t think I would survive at times.  Be kind. 

Kevin

BEFORE GOOGLE

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The Supremes sans Diana.

STARS IN BLACK TURTLENECKS

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Diana sans The Supremes

SOME JOY

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Teatime with The Supremes

IN THE COMING WEEKS ...

Billy Crudup, Willem Dafoe. Laura Linney. Judith Light. Ellen Barkin. Style icon and photographer Lisa Eisner. Writers Armistead Maupin, Julia Reed, George Hodgman, Jesse Kornbluth, Joyce Maynard, Sheila Weller, Mark Childress, Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni, Jennifer Raiser, Benoit Denizet-Lewis and William Norwich. Part Two of The Sally Field Interview. Part Two of Bette Midler's Digitalized Dialogue. And Part One of Catherine Deneuve's. And Elizabeth Taylor's. Oh: Don Bachardy also draws my nude portrait - yes, I am publishing it - and we talk about it being the first nude he's drawn in over two years in Part Two of our podcast.

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Poet Marianne Moore as a student at Bryn Mawr.   Early1900s.  “… imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.”

WHO SAID IT: Marianne Moore or Marianne Faithfull?

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Marianne Faithfull as a Vogue model.  Early 1960s. “I know for a fact that heaven and hell are here on earth … It was a vision I had after I’d taken 150 Tuinals. I didn’t intend to take so many, I just kept taking them on the flight and I remember taking a whole load more after I ordered hot chocolate on room service. I wasn’t dead, I was walking along in no-man’s land.”

THE FILTHY HUMAN SPLENDOR OF THEATRE:

A REPORT FROM LONDON

May you always do for others and let others do for you.  May you build a ladder to the stars and climb on every rung.” Bob Dylan

Guest Columnist

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Gabriel Moginot in one of his own designs

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Jeanloup Sieff, Corset, New York, 1962

Schmart laces into her southern childhood

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SF Serial

In the mode of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City, this serial In the Land of Start-Ups will introduce you to a fictional cast of San Francisco characters. Get ready for a new chapter each week in this narrative of loss and love and lust – and, yes, lucre.  This week, in Chapter Nine, Isaac’s mother meets Margot, one of Cal’s two mothers, and an unexpected spark occurs. Is it a romantic one or just one of recognition?

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally Monday, March 7, 2016, in Madison, Miss. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Morning Memo

My thoughts each day on the political climate in this country.  Today in For Evil It Is, I write about why I don’t fudge regarding my terminology anymore when referencing what is going on with this oligarchical theocratic fascist regime. Its intent is evil.  The results of its actions are evil.  The regime itself is an evil one.  Can one be politically evil and not personally so?  That, I still grapple with

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Meta-Memoir

This week in Bacon, Biscuits, and Big-Boned Women: A Mississippi Thanksgiving, I recall my childhood holidays when I’d sit inside with the women-folk and play scrabble and reminisce about my dead parents while the men-folk were out hunting quail.  I remember making sugar cane molasses too.  But I remember this most: S-O-R-R-O-W is a 9-point score in Scrabble.

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Travel

World traveler, TheWrap.com’s theatre critic Robert Hofler, takes his discerning eye on safari in Out of Africa, At Last.  He captures the brutal beauty of the continent with language and wit and, finally, yes the wonder the place inspires.  Picture Waugh eyeing (with rolled eyes) wildebeests and you’ll come close to what it’s like to read this remarkably rendered travel piece.

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BILLY PORTER: AWAKE - STAY WOKE - AND SING!

As the multi-talented Billy Porter begins filming his latest role Pray Tell in the new Ryan Murphy FX musical series, "Pose," he tells us why his art is imbued with his sense of purpose and his activism. A leader in The Resistance, he insists that we must find ways of being enraged in graceful and forgiving ways. We talk about why his return to his Tony-winning role in "Kinky Boots" last year was a way to find a place to put that rage in service to his art, his sense of his artful purpose having changed the first time he saw "Angels in America,: which opened on Broadway this season and in which he portrayed Belize in the play’s last revival in New York at Signature Theatre. James Baldwin said, “Artists are here to disturb the peace.” Hear Porter disturb it in this inspiring Q and A.

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