Sunday, December 1, 2013

Silence Of The Go-Go's AKA The Affair Between Belinda Carlisle And Jonathan Demme That Nobody Knew About For 25 Years

Not every singer can act, although many try. One singer who did not try particularly hard was Belinda Carlisle. On a whim, in 1983, she took a bit part in a movie called Swing Shift, playing a big band singer. I don't believe she had any dialogue; she just sang on a stage like she always did. In the words of Buck Owens, "All I have to do is act naturally."

Look at the way she ... stands there! So believable! So convincing! At the time, the movie became famous for spurring the romance between Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, but little did we know that it also spurred a brief romance between Belinda and the film's director, Jonathan Demme. From Lips Unsealed:
I hit it off with Jonathan, who was at the opposite end of the spectrum from Mike. In his late thirties, Jonathan was brilliant, clever, funny, way hip, knowledgeable about music, and adorable. One day on the set, as I stood amid the clutter of cameras and lights, he came up alongside me and with a playful twinkle in his eye that was pure Jonathan, he said, "So how does somebody get a date with you?"

"Just ask," I said.
Wait, Jonathan Demme? You mean to tell me that Jonathan Demme managed to shag Belinda Carlisle? You mean the same guy who'd just directed this?:

And who was about to direct this?:

And who, eight years later, would eventually direct this?:

Damn. Way to go, Jonathan Demme. And he didn't even tell anyone? Dude's got class.

You'd think that, given all the media frenzy surrounding the supposed American dream couple that was Belinda Carlisle and Mike Marshall, somebody would have noticed that one half of this couple was having an affair with a major Hollywood director. But apparently no one did.
I began seeing Jonathan on the sly. I had a great time with him. He was smart, talented, and funny. We shared common interests and knew some of the same people. All these things made me ask myself, Why was I with Mike? Friends of mine, those who hadn't dropped me because they were put off by Mike, asked the same thing: What do you see in him?

My gay friend and sometime assistant, Jack, had the best line. One day, after Mike made some off-putting comment about him when he'd called (like "it's your fag friend"), Jack simply said, "Honey, I don't get it. He's not even cute."

But like many women, I was unable to step outside of the hold he had on me ... As I made a salad one night, he yelled at me for cutting the lettuce instead of tearing it. I stood there with lettuce leaves in each hand and thought, What's wrong with me that I can't leave this guy?
Get a clue, Belinda!
Sadly, Jonathan eventually gave up on me. Though we had a great time together, he saw that I wasn't going to leave Mike, not for him, not for something that was healthy and made sense. I have a hunch that Jonathan also realized he was competing not only against a Dodger but also against another equally fucked-up relationship of mine - with cocaine.

My sister was the only one honest enough to say something to my face. I had taken her to a Dodgers game, and as we entered the VIP section, she turned to me and said, "Belinda, I hate to say this, but you look really old."

I was just shy of turning twenty-five.
Well, to be fair, back then, twenty-five was pretty old.

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