Red Wine? Check. Candles? Check. Priest? Check. Season Two of American Horror Story? Check?

SAG Awards Update to American Horror Story post: January 29, 2012

Ditto, what I wrote below about the Golden Globes, including the part about Dr. Lucy and me having Kir Royales and watching the 18th Annual SAG Awards in our Hotel Del. Additionally, Miss Jessica Lange just scooped Outstanding Performance By A Female Actor In A Drama Series for her role as Constance Langdon in FX’s American Horror Story. Brava, Ms. Lange!

Golden Globe Update to American Horror Story post: January 15, 2012
Some of you cats may have preconceived notions of us ghosties. Well, listen up, Wheat. As much as it pains me to say, we are not prescient, we do not have extrasensory perception (ESP); we can neither see into nor predict the future. We are just like you, except we can travel with preternatural speed and levity, can pinch wine from the bar and blame it on the night crew, and have remarkably long histories. Just like you, we also watch Hollywood awards shows and have gut-feelings and strong opinions about whom will take home what. (Dr. Lucy and I are enjoying the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards a ce moment inside my turret room at the Hotel Del. Kir Royales, anyone?) As it behooves the following piece, the legendary Jessica Lange did indeed earn a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress/TV for her role as Constance Langdon on FX’s American Horror Story. Jessica Lange praises American Horror Story writers [at the Globes], saying, “More than anything, I want to thank the writers, because I find it more and more rare, or rarer, every year to find a piece of work that is really beautifully written, and gives you something to do.”, according to CNN Showbiz journalist David Daniel @CNNLADavid. Congratulations and well done, Ms. Lange!

Ciao, dolls! Now that the holidays and the New Year hangovers have settled, Dr. Lucy and I have mellowed back into our very fine grooves, haunting our lovely Hotel Del. Although, some of the staff and their common manners are severely lacking as of late, odd for such a hallmark in the world of service: P.R. department in particular. I think we might have some fun with them in these quiet days of January. My pally in the elevator, Edward, may be able to help us offer up a scare or two even. Going down? What fun for winter boredom!

Edward, to the roof! Photo: J.S.Devore

In the meanwhile, babies, I’ve been making keen use of my Christmas Kindle and watching loads of, not just Ghost Hunters, Midsomer Murders and Warehouse 13, but a new fave: American Horror Story. Not since The X-Files or late night shoots with Errol Flynn have I looked more forward to moonlight. Not to mention watching on a night like this: Friday the 13th! Murder! (You don’t suffer from triskaidekaphobia, do you? Silly kittens!)

Also, not unlike The X-Files and the original swashbuckler, this horror story simply cannot be thoroughly enjoyed during daylight hours and is best not attempted without a bottle of red or, at the very least, a Washington martini (gin-soaked, filthy and with three fat olives: each representing the three branches of government … you do know those, don’t you?).


Not since Errol Flynn ... well. Oh, Johnny! When will you visit us at The Del? Photo: George Beahm

Not for the spiritually or visually squeamish, and you cats know I’m neither, AHS is a satisfying, ocular cocktail with equal parts Hitchcock suspense, unsettling 1930s carnival freakshow, vintage L.A. funk and scads of sexual oddities: all with just enough shock-and-awe to coat the glass and remind you it might be television, but it’s definitely cable. Zowie! (Standards and Practices aren’t the wet blankets they were in my day, are they?!)

Naturally, as with too many wicked-smaht series running amuck in TV’s own dead house à la The Others (Arrested Development, for one glaring example), there is a universal fear, as great as that of coming face-to-face with James Carville in an abandoned cabin in the Maine woods -egad!- , that Middle America might not tolerate the Golden Globe-nominated for Best Drama Series for TV American Horror Story with the same religious devotion as some of we Coasters do. Although, Season Two is already in high gear and I await anxiously the return of my fave Haunted Mansion, north of Anaheim at any rate.

Screaming for a swell, club-mix soundtrack infused with Rage Against the Machine, The Smiths, Marilyn Manson and maybe a touch of Beastie Boys for the lighter, bouncier freak fare, AHS punches up more stomach-jarring drops and reality jolts into darkness than a Wright Brothers’ transatlantic Red Eye. With enough characters and flashbacks to rival a time-travel, Celtic fantasy novel, the oft comic-noir (to those of us with a taste for gallows humor), bloody series invites us into a veritable palace of the dead, the 10K sq. ft. 1908 Rosenheim Mansion in L.A.’s posh Hancock Park, and proves that the afterlife, much like alcohol and fame, merely magnifies personality traits, and billable disorders.

Rosenheim Horror House, Hancock Park, L.A. Photo: Loren Javier

Guided by the chilly, blue hands of the curious brains behind the likes of Nip/Tuck, Entourage, The X-Files (natch), Dollhouse, Midnight Cowboy, Glee, Roswell and even true horror entertainment like ABC’s The Bachelor and the Julia Roberts feature Eat, Pray, Love, we are led into a Green Room, hovering type of existence populated with far too much relationship muck and back-stabbing, literally, to even attempt a back story here. Suffice it to say the lead male is a psychologist treating patients, living, undead and otherwise, in his haunted home. Red flag, babies! Not since Alan Thicke’s Dr. Seaver on Growing Pains was there a more obtuse shrink. Dr. Ben Harmon, however, may top the charts. Played beautifully, aesthetically as well as dramatically, by the very fine Dylan McDermott, his man foibles are almost forgivable, almost … until his potently sympathetic family (Boston transplants like me!) comprised of wife Vivien, daughter Violet, and their precious pup Hallie Harmon, plead with you not to be so quick to alleviate his guilt. Not to be bested on any facet, though, is the phenomenal, SAG- and Golden Globe-nominated Jessica Lange.

Part Designing Women‘s Julia Sugarbaker and part 1980’s Nancy Reagan, Jessica Lange’s Constance Langdon is as icily polite and hospitably, politically incorrect as a 1960s Virginia country club conceding to diversity applicants. She’s an utter pleasure on-screen and, with apologies to a very worthy cast, carries the show on her regal shoulders. I shudder to think what might happen were she to bail. With an upper middle-class ’60s sensibility and a coiffure that is almost certainly wrapped and pinned in bathroom tissue each night, she bakes up delightfully toxic pleasantries in an accent far more suited to the drooping humidity of a Richmond summer than to the bright and shiny California climes where she finds herself and her spectral, wastrel wards forever more. So unnerving, arresting and dead-on is her FFV (First Family of Virginia) demeanor, and trust me, I know a few by which to judge, one just might partake in one of her pretty, rat poison cupcakes served up with coffee, lest Constance takes note of one’s lacking, social graces.

Now, my take on the afterlife is that it’s simply divine. Of course, I met my demise in the Hotel del Coronado, so I get to spend eternity with room service, a poolside bar and pricey gift shops galore. The bee’s knees, I tell ya!  I do have the “dresses on a dead girl” issue and the poor etiquette of the hotel’s P.R. people who just blow my wig at every turn, but that’s all manageable, if not terribly easy or amusing. Whatever your take on death is, ashes to ashes and dust to dust, or forever reside where you died, I think we all might agree, dead or alive, on a given opinion.

Like reality TV, take Real Housewives of Beverly Hills for a glittering example, American Horror Story is aces fun to watch; but, my afterlife reality is sheer, smooth bliss. If you find yourself in an AHS afterlife situation, you have to ask yourself, What did I do to get here? and How the Hell do I get out? Until then, get your wine, light your candles and have your priest on speed dial … just in case.

Not a bad eternity, if I do say so myself! Even in winter.

Abyssinia the afterlife, cats!


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