Anthropologist expands stories of Eskimo culture

Posted: Thursday, February 08, 2001

LOS ANGELES -- There's a delicious scene in the made-for-TV movie ''These Old Broads'' in which Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor play off their rocky real-life past.

Taylor, in the role of a tough Hollywood agent, is offering apologies of a sort for stealing Reynolds' husband decades before.

''I was with Freddie because I was in a blackout. What's your excuse?'' Taylor's character tells actress Piper Grayson (Reynolds). ''The whole thing with Freddie was a nightmare.''

Is it possible singer Eddie Fisher, who left wife Reynolds to marry Taylor in 1959, might somehow take offense?

''Who cares?'' Reynolds said of her ex, who wrote the tell-all autobiography ''Been There, Done That'' in 1999.

The sentiment was echoed by their daughter, actress-writer Carrie Fisher, who crafted the scene in which Taylor and Reynolds swipe at their former hubby.

''After the book he wrote, I don't think he's allowed to take exception to anything,'' Fisher said. ''With regard to the thing with Elizabeth and my mother, it's a mess that was made in public and we're dusting a bit of it off in public.

''It's done in fun, not in malice. This is not revenge,'' she said.

''These Old Broads'' (airing 8 p.m. EST Monday on ABC) is far from bitter: It spins merrily on a satirical axis, gaining momentum from Hollywood absurdities as well as its stars' escapades.

Co-written by Fisher (''Post-cards from the Edge'') and Elaine Pope (''Seinfeld''), the movie features Reynolds, Shirley MacLaine and Joan Collins as feuding actresses who are unhappily reunited.

Taylor is the agent who brings them together for a TV variety show after the one film in which they shared screen time becomes a cult hit and jump-starts their careers.

A venal network executive (deftly played by Nestor Carbonell of ''Suddenly Susan'') uses MacLaine's son (Jonathan Silverman) to keep the trio in line and the project from self-destructing.

Even after all these years their rivalries remain as fresh as their mouths -- and their looks. (The actresses are positively vibrant.)

''I think of sex as a language, and I'm fluent in it,'' Taylor tells Reynolds at one point in the film. ''For you, it's a second language.''

In another scene, Collins as Addie Holden dashes in late for rehearsal as her co-stars fume. ''I had to change my entire outfit because I had a run in my tights,'' she explains.

''Are you sure it wasn't a varicose vein?'' snipes Kate Westburn, MacLaine's character.

For Fisher, the snappy one-liners are another case of art imitating life.

''The thing about sex being a language, I said that to Ben Affleck, that he was fluent and I spoke it,'' recounted Fisher, who keeps tabs on her quips. ''I have a friend who'll say 'I'll hold on while you write that down.'''

Although the plot of ''These Old Broads'' takes some outlandish turns involving a gangster boyfriend and skids into a few soapy potholes, its buoyant cast never falters.

''We all tried hard to look good in the movie,'' said Reynolds. ''We don't look like young girls but we look like terrific broads, which is what we're playing.''

They were also game for whatever was thrown their way.

''Elizabeth kept saying 'Be meaner, be meaner. You can say anything you want. It's funny,''' Reynolds recalled of their pivotal scene.

Getting her wig yanked off by Collins in a wild free-for-all was her personal favorite, Reynolds said: ''If you held back and were prissy and grand, what would be the fun of that?''

Fisher, who admits to cribbing a bit from ''The Sunshine Boys,'' Neil Simon's play about squabbling old vaudevillians, says the movie was a matter of chance.

''I was at Elizabeth's house on a Sunday, she has these Sundays ... where she has a bunch of people in and she just sort of floats down for a while and then floats back away.

''I was there with Shirley MacLaine and they basically said, 'You should write us something.' That sort of thing is said a lot, but somehow this (the movie) happened,'' Fisher said.

Despite its stellar cast, the project was a tough sell.

''We went everywhere and it would not get made as a feature (film),'' Fisher said, painting an image of the audience studio executives believed it would attract: ''A group of seniors huddled around the TV at the nursing home.''

Such nonsense, says Reynolds, noting the success that Walter Matthau at age 73 and Jack Lemmon at 68 enjoyed with ''Grumpy Old Men.'' Both Taylor and Reynolds are 68; MacLaine is 66 and Collins is 67.

''Talent doesn't go away just because you get older,'' said Reynolds, who tours with her stage show much of the year. ''You become complete within your talent.''

CREDIT:AP Photo/Danny Feld

CAPTION:Actresses, from left, Debbie Reynolds, Shirley MacLaine and Joan Collins are featured in the ABC film "These Old Broads." The movie, which takes a comic look at the reunion of three aging stars of Hollywood's golden age of musicals, airs Monday at 8 p.m. EST.

HEAD:Taylor, Reynolds send up their past in movie'It's an irony that as an artist you have to be really open and sensitive, but to exhibit work, you have to be tough-skinned. Especially if your work is on the fringe, and that's where I want to be, beyond the norm.'

--Marty Hapeman

BYLINE1:By JAY BARRETT

BYLINE2:Peninsula Clarion

On her business card, her name is presented "mARTy."

"I tell people 'art' is my middle name, both literally and figuratively," said Kasilof artist Marty Hapeman. ("That's 'ape man' with an 'H,'" she adds with her ready laugh.)

Hapeman, 34, has been a Kasilof resident since following a boyfriend here a dozen years ago from Oswego, N.Y., where she studied art at State University of New York at Oswego.

After coming to the Kenai Peninsula, Hapeman had two children, Russell and Lizzy Bacon, now 11 and 9, respectively, while attending Kenai Peninsula College. She got a degree in teaching secondary art, though she has yet to use it.

"My angels went, 'No, no, no, do this instead,'" she said of her job as the head framer at Frontier Frame Gallery in Soldotna. "They kind of pushed me in a different direction, but I do feel destined to teach art someday."

For now, Hapeman feeds her need to teach art through an art club at Tustumena Elementary School that meets every other week.

"It's more casual than a class, but I still try to make them stretch," she said.

"That's my whole thing: 'OK, you've got this, now what? What else can it be?' Art is a living thing, and our job is just not to block it."

Striving to find what else her personal art can be has prompted Hapeman to pioneer different techniques that add layer upon layer of complexity.

Abstract occasionally to the extreme, the work Hapeman has been producing lately starts out life in cyberspace or peeks out from the wonderland behind the looking glass. Or both.

She calls the two techniques ink jet transfer and scratched mirror. Both styles will be on display at the Kenai Fine Arts Center gallery starting next week, along with work from her good friend Deb Link.

Hapeman always is eager to share her technique.

"There's no room for ego in art," she said. "The concept of keeping an idea to myself is foreign to me, because art benefits the world. Sharing ideas raises the level others can start at."

Her ink jet transfers start out as images collected on the Internet or from her own photographs or videos. She then collages and manipulates them using Adobe Photoshop on her computer ("A Pentium 60 megahertz something").

Any other artist might stop after printing the resultant work on an ink jet printer, but true to her motto -- what else can it be? -- Hapeman goes a couple steps further.

She prints the images out on overhead transparency stock -- essentially a plastic sheet -- from an HP DeskJet 722 and then hits it with a blast of hair spray and lays it face down on paper or mat board.

When she lifts the transparency away, the image remains; mottled, sometimes distorted, but always interesting.

Image transfer is as tried and true as the old two-part Polaroid photographs, where a packet comes out of the camera and is peeled apart after 30 seconds or a minute. Anyone over 35 should remember them.

The secret to Hapeman's process, besides the hair spray, is that she uses laser printer transparency stock, which needs heat to make permanent the image. If she used ink jet stock, the image would set itself, inhibiting the transfer process.

Each of the ink jet transfers are considered mono prints, or originals, despite the fact that the computer image is constant.

The differences in repeat images come with different amounts of hair spray, waiting different lengths of time to initiate the transfer, how long the transparency sheet is left on, and what kind of stock she applies it to.

"Each one is different. I love that chance effect," she said. "It gives the angels an opportunity to play.

"People say you can't do real art on a computer, that it's too limiting, but so is a brush," she adds. "But the technique is awesome."

Mirror scraping is sort of the reverse of mirror etching. Instead of using acid to roughen the front surface of a mirror into a design, Hapeman scratches off different designs in the reflective silver coating on the back side of the mirror and fills the now clear space with collage images. The effect is very painterly.

While she enjoys the interactive aspect of the mirror work -- viewers have to insert themselves into the image to view it -- she said she's taken some heat for it.

"I've had to endure some major rude comments, people saying, 'Is that all there is to art?'" she said.

She sees comments like that as the root of the dichotomy of being a working artist.

"It's an irony that as an artist you have to be really open and sensitive, but to exhibit work, you have to be tough-skinned," she said. "Especially if your work is on the fringe, and that's where I want to be, beyond the norm."

Hapeman is the product of very alternative elementary and junior high schools and a regimented trade-oriented high school.

"In grade school it was a world of inquiry, where nobody thought I was weird when I would say, 'That makes me want to write a poem or do a play,'" she said. "I never knew I was a weirdo until I got into regular school."

Her high school, the Edison Technical and Occupational Education Center, was known as "Attica Tech," a reference to the maximum security prison in upstate New York.

"It was so narrow-minded and limited," she said. "It almost made me not want to go to college."

However, she gravitated to the graphic arts department, which she called "an oasis" in the technical school where she otherwise studied masonry.

"A lot of my feelings for teaching come from the teacher there, Bud Finen," she said. "It was so pivotal to me, I clung to art."

She debated going on to college, but when she did, she said she found a whole new world of art teachers.

"They were awesome. Very forward thinkers. They set in motion in me the thought of 'Now what?'"

Outgoing and loquacious, Hapeman bucks the popular impression of the serious artist as an obsessed loner whose creations come through fitful clouds of manic-depressive mood swings.

"I almost have a phobia about being alone. If nobody is at home, I have to call someone. I'm a major extrovert," she said. "But when I'm in my studio, I don't feel alone."

An accomplished commercial artist who does company logos, graphics, lettering, signs and paintings or drawings from photographs, Hapeman is adept at splitting herself between the representational art world she is surrounded by every day and her more private and abstract pursuits.

"In commercial art, people are paying you to do it in a certain way," she said. "But in creative art, there are no mistakes."

In her creative art, Hapeman said she is always pushing the envelope.

"If you don't push, art becomes stagnant."

However, she decries shocking art created just for the sake of being shocking.

"I get Art in America (magazine), and sometimes I can't leave it around my house," she said. "I don't think art needs to be shocking to make you think."

She said some shocking art has turned into commercialism, designed to create an uproar to lure people into the gallery.

"But I don't want to put down those who are shocking, because I do see a value in a lot of things that people here couldn't handle at all," she said.

"I know I can't go too far out myself, but if I took my work to New York, it wouldn't even create a ripple."

Hapeman hopes someday soon to buy Frontier Frame Gallery from owners Jodene and Ed Warfle ("They have been so good to me"), but the only thing she might even consider changing is dedicating a room to display the creations of local working artists.

"I'm not going to shoot myself in the foot," she said of the limited edition signed and numbered art prints by artists, such as Ed Tussey, Barbara Lavalee and Jon Van Zyle, that sell so well.

"I'm going to keep these, but I'd like to promote local artists, too, and educate people about the merit of original art and how integral it is to life.

"We should nurture artists, whether we believe in their work or not."



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