London was a big town for her.
When I did the show at Carnegie Hall, there were people hating it, people sort of accepting it, people kind of [exhibiting] a general weariness of the whole situation. When I did it in London, it was across-the-board excitement and acceptance, and “This is fantastic!” It was almost like the same thing that she went through. I guess old lines are still in operation. Are you talking to Liza [for your story]?
She won’t talk to me. Lorna, yes; Liza, no.
Yeah, same with me. Well, Lorna was in my show. Liza tried to stop it.
What do you think that’s about?
I mean, arguably, the relationship between Liza Minnelli and Judy Garland is one of the great mother-daughter sagas of all time. Certainly, for certain people, and a lot of them, Liza is the bigger star. Liza is the more kind of viable legend, shall we say. Then there’s the other camp, where Judy is the one. Certainly in my experience, being from a musical family and experiencing that issue of trying to match your parents’ fame, I don’t know of another musical example where the stakes were so high—and the daughter won. I would imagine that to keep that and to foster that and accomplish it, you have to really draw a pretty dark line between you and your parents. For me, it’s a little easier, because both my parents were very respected and great, some of the all-time-great songs were written by them, but not—
—not tremendously famous.
Yeah. So neither Martha nor I really had to play that game to the fullest, and we have managed to create our own identities. But with all the other ones—the Lennons, the Cohens, the Stills—
It’s very, very, very hard, and in most cases, you just don’t. Really in all cases, except for Liza Minnelli.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.