Grease Live on Fox

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grease_live

Last year I was watching The Ellen Show and she told her receptionist Jeannie that she was going to be in the upcoming live stage show of Grease and it was news to me that Fox was even doing a live production. I saw the live stage performance of The Sound of Music and then The Wiz on NBC, and then the live stage performance of The Rocky Horror Show on BBC America. I just assumed this was going to be on a stage as well, but it was more than a stage, they used an entire lot for this.

Let me take you back in time to 1978 when Grease first hit theaters. According to IMDb it was June 16, 1978. My mother and her friend, who I named Bubbles in my book would bring all of us kids (my sister, Bubbles’ son and myself) to the Drive-In in a pick up truck and we would watch it 3 times in a row. I remember one night we stayed until the next movie came on and no one was paying attention, and it wasn’t Grease, I don’t recall the name of the movie, but I saw a boobie and my mother freaked out and she was like OK guys lets go!

Some days my mother would drop my sister and I off at the walk in theater and we would literally watch it over and over like 4 times in a row. My sister kept a watch and we were supposed to leave at a certain time to be picked up. I honestly don’t remember why she did that. I remember that back then my parents managed an apartment building in Van Nuys, but for some reason I had assumed she dropped us off at the movies because she was going to work. I remember my step father occasionally worked as a trucker when we lived there, especially after my baby sister was born. My mother used to be a RN, but I don’t recall her working as a nurse in this time period.

When I was 19 and working as a telemarketer for the “Child Abuse Prevention Society”, they fired me (because I told my mother that my boss beat up my motel roommate who was my manager and punched me in the head and she told her friend who knew my bosses boss, and told him about it, so they fired me) and gathered all of my belongings from our motel room just days after we moved to Los Angeles. I was homeless, so I called my mom and told her, she called my step father who worked in Los Angeles at the time and he came and got me and my belongings and drove me to Canoga Park to live with my sister. She had a VCR and Grease on VHS, and I would watch it, then rewind it, then watch it, rewind, over and over.

I would estimate that the amount of times I saw Grease as a child, and then on VHS as a 19 year old, that I must’ve seen that movie at least 400 to 500 times. So that brings me to Grease Live (finally).

When I was browsing the guide on Sunday, I wasn’t expecting Grease Live to be on, so I was half an hour late watching it, but I used the Start Over feature with our cable and got to watch it from the beginning.

I don’t want to blame it on my antibiotics, but I was overly emotional watching. Every time they began singing, and keep in mind, I know ALL the words, I tried to sing, but I would get so choked up that I couldn’t sing along at all. I would get the first 2 words out, then start crying. It wasn’t just the first song, it was EVERY song in the live performance.

I spoke about the NBC and BBC America live stage performance and that Grease used an entire movie lot to film this, and I thought that was the most brilliant idea. The live audience that you could actually see was also a brilliant idea. I saw Samuel Marcus Egber from The People’s Couch in the audience during the cheerleader audition and thought how awesome it was that he was there.

Anyway, I just had to blog about this because it meant something to me to see this played out again with a whole new cast and they cleaned it up a bit. I loved their choices for every cast member. Juliana Hough couldn’t have made a better Sandy if she tried. I mean, it was like she really was Sandy. This show really was perfect.

I wonder which live performance is next. Hairspray? If so, I look forward that seeing it.

“V” (Book Excerpt)

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V was a show that originally aired in 1983, but we didn’t see it until NBC re-aired the mini series in 1984 before they aired the new weekly series.  This show is what gave me my  relationship with my mother, even if it was only for one hour a week.  Here is an excerpt from my book “Diary of a Gay Nerd: Life After Child Abuse, It Gets Better.”

“This one show came on TV which was a mini series called V about these aliens who came to earth to get help, but they really wanted to help themselves to humans. I thought that was really cool. It lasted for a few days and then it turned into a weekly TV show. My aunt didn’t want to watch it, but my mom and I liked it so we would watch it together in her room. My mother and I weren’t friendly with each other; we were always fighting because I was always being accused of doing things that I didn’t do and this show brought us together every week. I would lay down on her bed with her and watch TV and it made me feel closer to her.

“It was funny that everyone in the house was refusing to watch V because they thought it was cheesy, but they would sit and watch Dynasty, as if that wasn’t cheesy. I think that was what made V more special for me because the one person I wanted to get along with actually wanted to watch it with me. It became our thing.

“I had trouble reading and comprehending books so it was very rare that you would ever see me read. Whenever I would try to read my school books, I would forget what I was reading almost immediately. It was like the memory of the words were disappearing just as fast as I could read them, so I didn’t think I could read a novel. My mother, Aunt Sherri and sister Sarah were always reading novels by V.C. Andrews and Stephen King and I envied them all because I really wanted to read too, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to.

“We were at the grocery store and I saw the novel for V written by A.C. Crispin. I asked my mom if she would buy it for me and she gave me a look as if to say that I wasn’t smart enough, but she humored me and bought it for me anyway. I was so happy because I remember being told “the book is better than the movie” about everything and I figured if I could read the book, then I would get a better understanding of the show. Not that I needed a better understanding, I just wanted to get more out of it.

“I tried to read the V novel. I think I read half of the book and then stopped reading it because my brain just couldn’t handle it. I wanted to keep trying to read it because I really loved that show. I liked to read it because I had the image of every actor in the show in my head. My favorite part in the book was also in the mini series when Diana was eating a guinea pig and her jaw unhinged while Mike Donovan was in the air shaft watching her. I even had the bad special effect images of her jaw unhinging in my head and that made me laugh.

“Every so often, I would get the book out and try to go back to where I left off, but when I started reading, I would forget what I had already read before that. I think I read that book from the beginning about five or six times, but I never got past the middle.”

I talked about a scene where Diana unhinged her jaw, well, I mean did she really have a jaw to unhinge?  She was a lizard.  Anyway, here is a visual of what I was talking about.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VObQfWMgmIM

I was so beyond thrilled when ABC brought “V” back as a reboot.  Although the story was the same, everything was different.  I’ve seen the original many times so I wasn’t really looking for an exact duplicate so I was happy that they gave it a whole new spin.  Not everyone felt the same way and so the show didn’t last very long.

When the second season came and I heard that Jane Badler was going to be in it, I had to follow her on Twitter so I could see what she was saying about the show.  I tweeted her to show my enthusiasm for the show and she actually tweeted me back.  She has actually tweeted me back on several occasions.  That is the coolest thing about Twitter.

Unfortunately the show came to an end and Diana was killed by Anna.  Nobody has any idea how bad that made me feel.  I know it’s just a show, but that show represented something for me.  It represented my mother and I getting along for one hour a week and seeing Diana get killed like that seemed to finalize everything for me.

I will always have the memory of Diana in the original V and I will never forget her for her change in attitude in the new series.  She was a villain in the 80’s, but she became my queen in 2011.  I will never forget her.  Long live the queen!

OK that just sounded cheesy lol.