Hi ‘Gardens,’ Lo ‘Water’
This loyal “Blotch” blogger craves trashy escapism as much as anyone. Did you catch last weekend’s HBO movie premiere of the sloppy, candy-colored “Grey Gardens,” starring a bald, high-kicking Drew Barrymore as Little Edie and an artificially cronish, “Tea for Two”-chirping Jessica Lange as Big Edie? They play, natch, Jackie O.’s real-life poor relations who lived for many years in raccoon-infested squalor in the Hamptons. If you missed this only slightly fictionalized spectacle, there are multiple upcoming cable replays. If you saw it, and dug it, you’ve got to search out the extraordinary 1976 Maysles Brothers documentary on which it’s based. HBO’s Barrymore and Lange are superb but actually subtle compared to the curdled displays of Bouvier aristocracy by the two authentic Edie’s. They’re positively revolutionary!
BUT… I’m also not afraid to kill our buzz in the name of civic duty. Yesterday’s KERA 90.1 edition of NPR’s “Fresh Air” featured an interview with journalist Hendrick Smith about Tuesday night’s “Frontline” documentary “Poisoned Waters.” (On Channel 13). Smith helms this look at the chemical despoiling of America’s beloved Puget Sound and Chesapeake Bay estuaries. “Simpsons” fans have long enjoyed a big laugh at three-eyed fish and other cute monstrosities leaping from the rivers of Springfield. Scientists are now discovering six- and eight-legged amphibians, male frogs with ovaries, and female frogs with male genitalia in the coastal waters of Washington state and Virginia. Experts suspect a connection between those abnormalities; the massive numbers of commercial, industrial, and residential leakers nearby; and rising rates of child developmental disorders, breast cancer, and male infertility. (It’s the drinking water, dummy). “Poisoned Waters” promises the sight of eco-activists, politicians, business owners, and citizens going at it like squirrels in a sack. Watch, and cringe.