Today, I am thrilled to be Bourbonista bantering with close friend, amazing actor, and one of the sassiest dames I know, Ms. Beth Hallo, whose new film The Will premiers this weekend.
Beth began her theatrics at an early age by entertaining the troops – her eight brothers and sisters. Favorite stage performances include: Chick in Crimes of the Heart, Old Woman Chorus in Lysistrata, Candace in Unwilling Angel, Ophelia in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Maria Lebyadkin in The Possessed, the Victim in The Real Inspector Hound, and Cunegonda in Candide. Besides musicals, Beth also performed in various choirs singing holiday music and hymns. The role of Andrea Stockwell in 'The Will' was the experience of a lifetime and the fulfillment of a dream.
Bourbonista: There is only one way to start this interview, and that is with a shot. Cheers! To your new film! Now, what is the best thing you ever ate? Where? Explain.
Beth: A hot dog. It was August of 1979 and I was on the Magic Bus traveling from Athens to London with my boyfriend. He had exchanged enough currency from each country we were traveling through for a meal - probably about $10 for the two of us. We were passing through the Black Forest and we stopped for half an hour and we were starving. We each got a hot dog with mustard and a drink. The mustard came from a tube and was sweet with a bite and perfectly complemented the sausage and dense roll. The best meal EVER.
Bourbonista: Why do I get the felling that if I let that story continue the spicy mustard would end up on people's private parts and I would have to put a PG-13 rating on this blog? It's going to take another shot to get the naughty images out of my head. Cheers! Moving on, describe yourself in 3 words all beginning with the letter “B."
Beth: Brassy blue-eyed brainiac.
Bourbonista: And, you're a broad. I'm a broad. My favorite women are all broads. Tough, mouthy, rowdy, smart, and sassy broads. Cheers to broads! If you were a circus performer, what would you be and why?
Beth: The Ring Mistress. With frequent costume changes. I am the queen and direct the world. Why should I sweat?
Bourbonista: Because if you don't sweat, you develop a condition called anhidrosis and are prone to overheating and passing out during rigorous activities such as dancing a rousing polka, cheering for the ponies at the racetrack, or having sex in an airplane bathroom...not that those are examples I came up with especially for you or anything. What would you do if you won the lottery?
Beth: CRUISE SHIP TRIP! I would pick a date one year away and inform friends/family to save the dates, pack a toothbrush and nothing else. They would be whisked away on an all-expense trip on the high seas and their state rooms would contain everything they needed including formal wear and a costume for the masked ball. A lifetime adventure would be had by all......
Bourbonista: For the masquerade ball, can I have a cat mask with whiskers?...it's gotta have whiskers. And I'm going to need several caftans. And bourbon, of course. And, facial hair remover, or by the time we get back I'll look like Magnum PI. TMI, last question, if you were on death row…don’t act like you don’t know who you killed to get there…what would be your last supper?
Beth: Thanksgiving dinner. For 10.
The Will, written and directed by Alexander Chapan, is a thriller that combines the classic elements of the genre with an innovative point of view. The story begins with the death of billionaire Harry Stockwell and follows the members of the family in their pursuit of the inheritance. Ricky, one of Harry's sons, is an openly gay male. His partner Robert is a handsome young man who carries with him a dark secret from his past. Emmy Stockwell, Harry and Andrea Stockwell's daughter, immediately bonds with Robert when he confides in her. The relationship between Robert and Emmy drives the story, along with Andrea Stockwell, the family's matriarch, who attempts to oversee and control the estate and everyone attached to it. The various story lines of the plot, full of suspense, betrayal, love, sex and dark humor, are certain to resonate with all audiences.
The Will will be showing at Cinema Village in New York City, March 1 - 14 at 7PM & 9PM.
This afternoon, I had the privilege of sitting down with author Judy Higgins over tea and scones in honor of her debut novel, The Lady, which was a semi-finalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakout Novel Contest.
Bourbonista: First, I hope I didn’t embarrass you by holding up a flask when the waitress asked what I took in my tea. It was a bit uncouth, but that’s how I roll. Let’s get right to it. Describe yourself in three words all beginning with the letter “B.”
Judy: Bold, Blonde (I dyed my hair red, but I’m still blonde at heart), Blessed.
Bourbonista: I know they say that blondes have more fun, but if I had any more fun than I do right now, I'd be sure to get arrested, so I better stay a brunette. So, what six people, they can either be alive or dead or a combination, would you invite to your perfect dinner party?
Judy: The first three would be my grandmother; Catherine the Great (Wow! What a woman); Colin Firth--he’d sit next to me, and definitely nowhere near Catherine the Great. And next, for a titillating dinner time conversation, Jesus and Mohammed. I’d love to see what kind of pass Catherine would make to either. In the event I decided Jesus and Mohammed might be too much, then Einstein and Thomas Jefferson. On the other hand, scratch Colin, Jesus, Mohammed, and Thomas. Instead, add Peter the Great and Mark Twain.
Bourbonista: Poor Catherine. You can’t blame her for her infidelities. You’d cheat too if you had a husband that preferred to play with puppets instead of you. That Peter III was not quite right. But, I read Mark Twain was renowned for being well-endowed, so I bet that’s who she’d set her sights on. But I would hope she would have more respect for your grandmother and Jesus than to be a blatant hussy. Next question, if your house were to catch on fire, what is the one possession you would grab?
Judy: My fire extinguisher. I have too many mementos from my travels and from my past to let my house go up in flames.
Bourbonista: Touché.’ If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
Judy: The Air Force anthem (at least the first part of it)--“Off we go, into the wild blue yonder, flying high . . . “ I’m a travel-aholic.
Bourbonista: If you’re going to be an “aholic,” travel is a healthy one. It's way easier on your liver than any of my addictions. What would you do if you won the lottery?
Judy: Always fly first class, Hire a cook., Hire a personal shopper (I hate shopping), Donate lots of money to cultural institutions in Lexington (UK Opera Department, the Symphony, Kentucky Theater, The Carnegie Center, etc.)
Bourbonista: Lots of money, huh? In your eyes, what does it take to be a “cultural institution?” I’m willing to give becoming one a shot. Lastly. what is your favorite word and why?
Judy: “Can.” As in “I can.” I don’t like giving up until every stone has been turned, and every solution tried.
Make sure to get your copy of Judy's debut novel, The Lady.
South Georgia, 1956.
When sixteen-year-old Quincy Bruce goes to live with her Aunt Addy, she has no idea that what happened thirteen years earlier in wartime London can destroy her future. Her parents have gone to Africa as missionaries, leaving Quincy with her free-spirited and lively aunt, a war widow, and the only person who supports Quincy’s ambition to become a musician. When another aunt accuses Addy of having been the inspiration for the adulterous woman in Nathan Waterstone’s infamous wartime novel, The Lady, Quincy vows to prove her wrong. As Quincy settles into her new life with Addy, she sets about unraveling the secrets of Addy’s life, and of Nathan’s, in an effort to discover the true identity of the Lady. When she makes a discovery of a different type, Quincy’s dreams of becoming a pianist come crashing down.
More About the Author
Judy was born in South Georgia where she grew up playing baseball, reading, and taking piano lessons. To pay for her lessons, she raised chickens and sold eggs to neighbors. She attended Mercer University for two years, and then Baylor University from which she graduated with a BA in German. She received her MA in German literature from The University of Michigan. After teaching German for several years, Judy decided to become a librarian and earned a MA in Library Science at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania.
Judy’s life took an exciting turn when she left her teaching job in Pennsylvania to be Head of Library at the Learning Center School of Qatar Foundation. She lived in Qatar for eight years, traveling during every vacation, and enjoying the experience of living in a different culture. Recently, she returned to the United States and lives in Lexington, KY. Judy has two children, Julia and Stephen, two children-in-law, Jim and Erin, and three grandchildren: Kyle, Jon, and Karina.
Last night, I couldn't help but catch the Olympic spirit and tune in to the games. So my city husband, Kyle, and I settled in, cocktails in hand to watch. While the ice dancers got their twizzle on, I got my swizzle on...swizzle stick in drink, of course. We realized right away that we were natural sports commentators.
Here are a few of our random observations on the Ice Dancing competition:
What is it with the French and scarves? Didn't they learn anything from Isadora Duncan? If that girl gets her blade caught in his chiffon, there's going to be a decapitation.
I think the adorable brother and sister team from the U.S. should extra points for not grossing people out by making it look incestuous. Their routine could have been very uncomfortable to watch.
That Canadian couple has such animated expressions that at any moment I expect them to morph into cartoon characters.
I'm not sure about those Russians, but I don't think that "eerie," "creepy," "gloomy," or "suicidal" are supposed to be the words that come to mind when watching a routine.
I like the whole Les Miserable theme, but I wish the chick had gone more peasant prostitute with the pox.
Whoever wrote The Little Prince was on acid...no doubt.
If we ever become ice dancers, we'll tell the story of The Giving Tree. I'll be the tree...until your ungrateful ass chops me into a stump, of course.
And, upon the amazing U.S. team of Meryl Davis and Charlie White winning the Gold and being presented with flowers instead...
Fuck some flora, where's my medal, bitches?
A poem in honor of Get a Different Name Day.
What is in a name?
Nothing if it's Erica or Elaine.
But be called Agnes or Adelaide,
And see how popular you are in third grade.
My parents nearly named me Flolettie, I lie not.
Had they, would I be in this spot?
Or I may today,
Be pulling a double at the Taco Bell,
Screaming, “Ain’no hot sauce, go straight to hell.”
And dreaming of the day,
That a boy named Bobby Ray,
Would finally remove "Lavonda" from his chest,
And ink “Flolettie” in its place…
Beneath a tattoo of my face.
Instead they deemed me Donna Jane,
A perfect name for small-town fame.
But not worthy of my big city dream,
So in a starry-eyed scheme,
I replaced the Jane with an exclamation point.
I defined myself by this punctuation,
Loud and bold with no moderation.
The exclamation lasted until college,
Where I gained a tiny bit of self-knowledge.
But lost it on a trip to Tennessee.
Where after several shots of Hennesey,
I walked down the aisle to Elvis and was wed by Reverend Ed.
Then my name became Donna Ison-Engelke, instead.
Engelke only lasted fourteen months,
To nobody's great surprise.
It's impossible to maintain a relationship,
That’s exclusively between the thighs.
When once again I was caught in the matrimonial net,
I ended up with Brock as my sobriquet.
But it just sounded so Germanic, and he wore a cape,
So after four years in that union, I made my escape.
When my father died,
To keep him close and ease the pain,
I clove to his Emerson and gave up my Jane.
I dropped the monikers of all other men
and took Donna Emerson Ison as my autonym.
When I took up writing, I shortened it to D.E.
So, readers couldn't tell whether I was a he or a she.
Then came marriage number three.
With Donna Ison-Rodriguez, I gained some Latin flavor.
But, it was a taste I did not savor.
So, neither husband nor his name did stay.
We filed for divorce, five years ago today.
It has taken a lifetime to realize,
There is nothing in a name.
Were I Bambi or Beatrice, I’d be the same.
And my Rose would smell as sweet,
If his name were Paul or Pete,
Instead of Frank.
Identity comes before the label,
So, today I am able…
To embrace at forty-five,
That simply Donna Ison will completely suffice…
There are a few things I need more of in my life, right now. They include:
1) Kickass metaphors.
3) The Violent Femmes cranked up to 11.
4) All animals of the pygmy variety—goat, hedgehog, owl, marmoset, elephant, etc.
5) Vampire Films starring George Hamilton. Love at First Bite was just not enough.
6) Sexy time with my man. I am an HVAC widow until spring.
7) Deviled Egg trays. I’ve never collected anything and I think it’s time to start.
8) Irish fisherman sweaters.
9) Irish fisherman.
10) Guest Bloggers.
11) Some form of exercise that I don’t despise, which basically eliminates everything except drunk kayaking.
12) Laughter…leave me joke in the comments section…the bawdier, the better.
13) The lake.
I've never had a 24-inch waist, a 6 figure income, or been able to run a 7 minute mile, but I have always been able to brag about having 20/20 vision. That is until recently.
Last month, I was perusing the manual for a Duraflame Roasting Log to see if it's appropriate for indoor use--sadly, it is not, no S'mores for me. Anyway, all the words were blurry and illegible. I held it further away by a couple of inches...things started to get clearer. So, I held it out a few inches more and Voila,' I could read it perfectly. Damn! I finally understood the joke from the sitcoms where the woman holds the menu at arm's length. Wait! I didn't want to understand the joke. It was a getting old joke.
My next wake up call occurred at Bingo at The Bar. On a side note, this is an event you should experience at least once in your lifetime if for the prizes alone, which could be any of the following: a decorative crystal Cinderella heel, bag of miniature Snickers, refurbished Dustbuster, VHS copy of Gone with the Wind, or tee shirt with Stewie from Family Guy dressed as a 70s pimp. A couple of week's ago, I attempted to make out the letters and number in the dimly-lit bar with my failing middle-aged eyes. The result was a premature Bingasm, which is highly frowned upon. I was shunned for the remainder of the evening. They take that shit seriously.
Final straw was this week when I was checking the dry erase board to see what we needed from the grocery. Chili powder, onions, toilet paper, dick soup...what the hell...DICK SOUP? Ohhhhh...upon closer inspection it read...DISH SOAP.
Since then, I have gone to the Dollar Tree and bought reading glasses in every pattern and shape and stashed a pair in every room of the house. Why so many? Because my memory is also going and I keep forgetting where I put them, but am still refusing to resort to Aunt Gertrude pearl spectacle chain.
Who would have thought that my eyes would be the first to go and not my liver?
This is why I should never attempt to have a conversation before 9AM:
Frank: Andy Samberg was just on The Today Show talking about his digital shorts.
Donna: What do they do?
Frank: What do you mean?
Donna: His shorts...do they measure how many calories he burns, or have a built in cooling system, have I-pod speakers, or massage his balls...what makes them digital shorts...
Frank: (Ignoring me) They asked him if their was anyone he wished he'd been able to get in his digital shorts but couldn't. He answered, "Bill Clinton on Sax."
Donna: Quite frankly, I thought Bill Clinton's sex would be easy to get in your shorts.
Frank: What in the hell are you talking about?
Donna: Digital shorts. (Embarrassing realization) Ooohhh, not those kind of digital shorts.
Now, a real Andy Samberg digital short for your enjoyment...(which also served as my theme song for 2013).
Sharing All I KNOW about the fine art of voluptuating. here's to living the lush life.