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An NYC-based documentary company is currently conducting research for a project about the cultural impact of the film Grey Gardens since its release in 1976. If you, your friends, or anyone in your community has ever created performances or events inspired by this film, and are interested in having these efforts included in the project, please contact us at
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OK, I hear the earth moving equipment rumbling...

Grey Gardens, the weekly party. 1995. Irving Plaza. Hattie Hathaway, Johnny Dynell, Sherry Vine, Martha Staunch. Where we first re-introduced burlesque to NYC.

I set up a topic in Club Chronicles regarding this party:

Grey Gardens at Irving Plaza

I guess this one should be about the film.

We also produced the premiere party for the re-release of the film at Mother in the late 1990s. Attended by all the producers, including the surviving Maysles Brother, Albert. Sweetie and Christian Womyn portrayed Big and Little Edie respectively onstage as the film ran behind them.
Last edited by Chi Chi
Saw Grey Gardens again, really terrific the 2nd time around. It really is a must see. Christine Ebersole is astounding.

And the lyrics, they are really genuis - the more I listen to it, the more amasing I find the meter and ryhme scheme - I love lines of lists like: "Cottage Cheese, Chamomile, Doctor Norman Vincent Peale"

and then there is:
"Jerry doesn't want any sex with you; he wants one his own age; Jerry doesn't want any sex with you; Jerry sees a different girl every night; He doesn't want one with cellulite"

I have the recording of the off-Broadway version. Some songs have been added/dropped/changed, and I am looking forward to the Broadway recording. I hope they are doing one - if they haven't already have done one.

I'm glad that I have the off-B'way recording though, becuase they changed the lyrics from "Being Bouvier" to "Marry Well" - I prefer the former to the latter.

I am dying to do a downtown version of the documentary with Hattie as Little Eddie and as Big Eddie????? Hapi "Jerry likes my corn" Phace?
Just saw the new HBO Films GREY GARDENS last night - was absolutely stunned by it. I usually HATE these type of projects, but this one managed to create a new work that added much to our understanding of Big and Little Edie, and the circumstances surrounding the filming and release of the iconic documentary.

The two performances, by Jessica Lange as Big Edie and Drew Barrymore as Little Edie, were both extraordinary, and I loved the way the story was embedded around the documentary, the rare case of a "film within a film" working. The backstory, in particular the revelations about Big Edie - it helps one understand the entire relationship of mother and daughter so much more.

VERY highly recommended - and Ive read it will be released on DVD so even if you dont have HBO, you'll still be able to see it.
Hey everyone, I too loved the HBO 'biopic'. I thought it was a charming and compassionate portrayal of these women and the times in which they lived. My friend Betty met one of the Maysles brothers several years ago - being inquisitive, she engaged him in conversation about his friendship with Big Edie and Little Edie:

I was so lucky to get to see Albert Maysles in person and hear him discuss Grey Gardens -- right here in Montpelier, VT. It was so neat to hear him talk about Big Edie and Little Edie and how he had such respect for them. He never saw them as mentally ill or in any way abnormal. He said, "they were just like anybody else -- but more so." He actually considered them quite mentally and emotionally healthy, two unconventional people in a closely bonded mother-daughter relationship where there was a lot of love under all of their bickering. They thrived on it. Maysles said he thought that the life-style choice they made was a sign of their mental health. As he said, "they couldn't have had their singing and dancing and freedom to express themselves if they'd lived in Jackie Kennedy's world."

He said there was a negative review early on (NYTimes?) in which the critic felt the Maysles should "be ashamed of themselves" for exploiting the Bouvier- Beales by making the film. Nothing could be further from the truth and Little Edie herself wrote an eloquent letter in response to the review. But the paper never did publish it. Maysles called to inquire and they said, "well, she's schizophrenic, so we don't feel that we can put this in the paper." Isn't that awful? People said that about her, but Maysles certainly doesn't think she was schizo -- and he should know.

Albert Maysles actually has a PhD in psychology. He taught for three years at Boston University before getting into filmmaking. He said he once showed Grey Gardens to a whole group of psychologists and of course they were full of jargon, labeling the Edies as "schizophrenic, codependent, delusional, manic," etc. Maysles challenged them and proposed that they try to see the health, creativity and talent of the two women. Someone in the audience commented that this would be a great lesson for the whole mental health profession!

Another person said she felt uncomfortable with the film, as if it were too intimate and revealing. Albert answered so eloquently -- "Why aren't we comfortable with intimacy and self-revelation? That's what getting close to someone is about." He said that the Bouvier-Beales were totally comfortable with the film, as a matter of fact they loved it. When the Maysles had finished the film, they took it to Grey Gardens and showed Big Edie and Little Edie. Big Edie burst out, "The Maysles have created a classic!" Albert also recounted something Little Edie had told him about her mother's death. She was with her all the way to the end. When the end was near, she asked her mother, "Is there anything you want people to know about you? Anything you haven't gotten to say?" Big Edie said, "No. Everything I wanted to say is in the Maysles film." What a tribute to them that extraordinary film was.

As far as the Broadway show is concerned, Albert had only praise for it and said, "it's quite good for that form. Of course, I believe in the power and truth of my form, but for what it is, it's well-done." He did say that he thought Little Edie would be thrilled with the musical -- her complaint was that there hadn't been enough singing and dancing in the film. The theater version would have made her day! He also thinks the Hollywood film that's being made (with Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lang) will be good. He has been consulted and has shared extra footage and documents. He says they're doing their homework for it.

Albert said he has stayed in touch with almost everyone he has ever filmed. He stayed friends with Little Edie. Once after her mother died, she was spending some time in Montreal because she wanted to learn French, and he was coming to Montreal to present a film, so he invited her to join him. She met him with great panache, all dressed up, and told him it had taken her 6 hours to get ready! He mentioned how she has influenced the fashion world. Oh yes, he also said that there are some 400 poems that Little Edie wrote and that they are good -- someday they will be published. She really was a very creative woman.

Well, that's most of what I remember. Maysles is pleased that Grey Gardens is receiving so much attention these days. He speaks of the Bouvier-Beales with great tenderness and seems to feel that it's poetic justice that those two extraordinary women now have this posthumous triumph. They probably would have loved being the subject of plays and movies! It's clear that he and his brother had great friendship for them and took them seriously, which must have meant a lot to the Edies.

(Albert Maysles, by the way, is now 84! And still doing film projects. What an amazing, vibrant man.)

While researching some things to do with friends coming in from Cincy next weekend, we ran across this topic related event @ Coney Island .

Bambi the Mermaid Presents: Coney Island's Burlesque Salute to "GREY GARDENS"

Fri, May 15, 10:00pm – 11:59pm

There aren't many more details than that...

They are also having a showing of a Dali piece beforehand @ 8pm:

Friday, May 15th, 8 PM @ The Coney Island Museum $10

Bedlam Theatre Presents: Dali's Liquid Ladies

Welcome to the World’s Fair

Deep in the heart of Coney Island, we bring you the Midway’s only surrealist funhouse, where you can take a tour through your own most perverted secrets and your most terrifying nightmares. See social conventions tossed to the wind! Beautiful mermaids swim in the waters of our collective fantasies, clothed only in their commitment to high art! Come one, come all to Salvador Dali’s Dream of Venus. Where even your most shameful desires come true.

Directed by Samantha Johns. With original music by Hot Tony Biele.
Starring Jon Mac Cole, Kait Sergenian, Savannah Reich, Katie Melby and
Mark Rehani.

We're hoping to be able to do both.
We saw both the "Liquid Girls" show and the Tribute to Grey Gardens on Friday.

Both were most certainly worth the trip. "Liquid Girls" has moved on, but the "Burlesque at the Beach" show will continue through the summer with different themes.

If the rest of the week's are anything like last week, we highly recommend at least one trip down.

We're also big fans of the 22oz Coney Island Lager bottles. jester
Okay, for true believers - this just in from the Daughters Maysles:


Friday, June 12 - Sunday, June 14th*

We decided to get in the act and bring it all back to the house that Grey Gardens built. STAUNCH! is going to be a tribute to the film that spawned it all and to its many, many fans. Come hang out in our living, breathing diorama of Big and Little Edie's bedroom as recreated by artists and designers, with ephemera, specialty foods and sound booths with rarely heard audio of the Beales and their friends.

Friday June 12
@8pm Grey Gardens, Dir. Albert and David Maysles (1976) 94 min.
Unpacking Grey Gardens: Panel with fashion, gender, sexuality and film personalities and director Albert Maysles.

Saturday, June 13th
@1pm: Grey Gardens, Dir. Albert and David Maysles (1976) 94 min.
@4pm: Book signing of the new Grey Gardens book - authors Rebekah and Sara Maysles, with the one and only Albert Maysles!
@8pm Live Grey Gardens inspired cabaret and burlesque, sing alongs, contests, prizes! Come perform, join in, or if need be sit on the side lines! Grey-Gardens-revolutionary outfits optional but highly suggested.

Sunday, June 14th
@2pm: The Beales of Grey Gardens, Dir. Albert and David Maysles (2006) 91 min.
@5pm: Grey Gardens, Dir. Albert and David Maysles (2006) 94 min.

*a limited number of early reservations are available.

At the Maysles Cinema
343 Malcolm X Blvd (between 127th and 128th St)
NY, NY 10027
more info:

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