Like Clara Bow, Jean Harlow, Greta Garbo, and a very few others before her, Marilyn Monroe has managed to outlive herself. If anything, her celebrity is stronger now than during her lifetime, to the point where she has eclipsed the other dazzling femmes fatale who went before.
Books written by Norman Mailer, Joyce Carol Oates, and dozens of other biographers fill library bookshelves, and on the World Wide Web, there's no end to the number of sites that pay homage to the memory of Monroe, nee Norma Jeane Baker, who died in 1962 at the age of 36.
One of the most impressive shrines is the so-called "Official Marilyn Monroe Web site." Drenched in hot red and sensual pink colors, the home page beckons visitors to step inside, therein to find a biography that chronicles the glamour queen's upbringing, modeling and film career, and her well-publicized marriages to baseball's Joe DiMaggio and then to playwright Arthur Miller; a filmography listing the 30 films she starred in; a rather paltry photo gallery; Fan Club information, and links to a store that sells Marilyn Monroe dolls, coffee mugs, key chains, CDs, movie videos, and other embossed paraphernalia.
Global phone book
Teldir.com boasts that it's the Internet's original and most complete index of online phone books, with links to directories from 170 countries, from Africa to the Caribbean, Australia to the Middle East. You can also type in a phone number in reverse-directionary sites and get the name of the person who owns it. Three checks quickly turned up the phone numbers of a favorite restaurant in Malaga, Spain, a former neighbor living in the Provence region of France, and a friend in Surrey, England.
Ah, sweet mysteries of life - in pulp fiction, film, magazines, videos, and now, Web sites. One site in particular, Mysteries.com, is a product of the A&E Network on cable TV, and while it self-servingly promotes all things A&E, there's enough here to satisfy non-TV mystery buffs as well.
A search of the site's "10,000 Mysteries" turns up information about all the usual A&E suspects - Hercule Poirot, P.D.
James, Sherlock Holmes, Inspector Morse, Lovejoy, Cracker, Miss Marple, Agatha Christie, and even Kojak - but also Alfred Hitchcock, Dashiell Hammett, Ed McBain, Charlie Chan, Mickey Spillane, and Patricia Cornwell.
There's a pithy Mystery of the Day featuring a sleuth named Dr. J.L. Quicksolve, as well as discussion boards and quizzes involving various authors and works. And of course, what Web site would be complete without a store where you can conveniently buy books and videos to your heart and wallet's content? One complaint: I came up blank on a search for both The Twilight Zone's Rod Serling and the inestimable Jane Tennison, Prime Suspect's terrific Inspector Chief Detective from PBS. Leaving them out is indeed a crime most foul.
Shakespeare and Shaw
Among the best theater to be found anywhere on the North American continent is that found in Ontario - specifically the Stratford Festival in Stratford, four hours from Toledo, and the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, another two hours away. If you're interested in reading about the bills of fare and ordering tickets, both festivals are only a click away.
The seasons, which run through Nov. 5 and Dec. 9, respectively, feature high-quality interpretations of classic and contemporary plays, and the sites give full descriptions of each play, along with photos and many pages of information about accommodations, dining, and other attractions.
At Stratford, the season features 13 productions, including the usual serving of Shakespeare - Hamlet, Titus Andronicus, and As You Like It - along with the Greek tragedy Medea, the contemporary drama The Miracle Worker, Oscar Wilde's comic The Importance of Being Earnest, the musical Fiddler on the Roof, and an appearance by the great American actress Uta Hagen in Donald Margulies' Collected Stories.
The Shaw also offers a baker's dozen of works, including George Bernard Shaw's The Doctor's Dilemma and The Apple Cart, plus plays by Noel Coward, Oscar Wilde, Thornton Wilder, Luigi Pirandelli, J.B. Priestley, and three musicals: Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick's She Loves Me; A Salute to Cole Porter opening Aug. 12, and Sadie Thompson, a 1944 one-act musical opening Sept. 15.
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