Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I watched Mackenzie Phillips on the Oprah Show last week.
My mind immediately went to the Mama’s and the Papa’s, the famous Vocal group from the mid-sixties. And when I think of them, I have to think of Mama Cass Elliot, whose warm distinctive voice was essential to the groups success. “Mama Cass” was known for her size (she was a big mama) and having been hit on the head by a copper pipe which miraculously extended her vocal range.
One of the best lines in rock is the recurring line in their song “Creeque Alley” that ends each stanza.
“No one is getting fat ‘cept for Mama Cass”
"Creeque Alley” is a song that in just a few minutes' running time manages to present an account of all the band's history up to that present time, and in pretty good detail..
It’s a hint at both Cass Elliot's weight and her relative commercial/artistic success in the pre-Mamas days.

Anyway, that’s not what this post is really about.
This post is really about the hoopla over the reunion of Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertanelli, the two child stars of “One Day at a Time” on "OPRAH" last week..
It was supposed to be emotional and nostalgic, this reunion, but it seemed a bit contrived to me.
These people are stars, they are in the news, they have money to go anywhere anytime, and rack up frequent flyer miles like you wouldn’t believe.
If they have “lost” each other, its because they haven’t turned on their TV For the last 15 years and have managed to not see the tabloids at the grocery store.
Its not magic, its not amazing, its not even cathartic that these two wind up on Oprahs set.
Heartwarming, maybe, if you are into schmaltz.
Its predictable, and a sleight of hand sales pitch for Mackenzies book, God bless her heart.

No, this is what is amazing to me…

That four days ago I would talk to the mother a girlfriend I had but for a few weeks 31 years ago after seeing her last at Shavonnes funeral, and the first thing she would say to me was
“I think about you all the time, Steve”.
The story of Shavonne lies close to my secret heart; I talked to Shavonnes brother too, and was able to also share my dream with them, a dream I shared with you long ago.

I think it is noteworthy that I would look up an old acquaintance in Detroit Michigan and travel 41 years over time to be the first one to write on her newly formed Facebook wall. And that when I shared with her my post about "Stuttering Pete", that I would find that Pete is now a Disc Jockey for a local radio station, and funnier than ever.

But this is the one that takes the cake...
Three days ago I would put an inscription in a book that read
“Somewhere in this book it says “Hearts are tough, they mostly bend”
and ship that book faraway to a very dear friend that I had not seen or heard from in 33 years, only to have them read to me over the phone my inscription from their L.D. Bell Yearbook made in the spring of 1975 which ended like this:
“Just BEND a little bit, baby, but don’t break”

Man, thats some weird ass Ju-Ju there.


GrizzBabe said...

That Mackenzie Phillips story is about as horrific as it gets. A living hell.

Barbara said...

I loved the Mamas and the Papas. They were my generation.

Sounds like you are doing a great job of reconnecting with your past.

kissyface said...

Can you believe John Phillips and Roman Polanski all in the same week? What's up with the stars' stars? Saturn in Virgo, maybe?

Also, don't be naive, Steve. Guests of the Oprah show don't pay for air travel, the networks do that. A celeb paying for airfare would be like someone actually walking anywhere in LA. (actually, I do that all the time, but I'm a bit freakish)

Martijn said...

This is what I always feel: the past is just lurking in the bushes, waiting to hit you on the back of your head with a lead pipe, doing nothing for your vocal chords, but getting your head all sticky. I don't know why I can't be a little more positive about the past. I have had a splendid youth. Nothing wrong there. No wedgies or bullies, nothing but nice people. Still I run away from them the best I can. You proof again & again what goodness can come from meeting old friends... Keep it up; maybe I'll start believing in it in the end.

Stu J 2.0 said...

I always hated MckP....she just looked like a Coke Whore.........

And I never knew what a Coke Whore looked like back in the day as I was too young to know that...butt she always occurred off to this 8 year old........

and that TV show sucked BTW......

Just Saying.......