B. Smith’s husband Dan Gasby opens up about her dementia06/19/2019
Beautiful former model Barbara Smith once owned Southern style restaurants — from the Theater District to Sag Harbor — named B. Smith.
Her business partner was her husband of nearly 30 years Dan Gasby. What happened was told before — but it’s had some bad headlines. I knew both well. So I spoke to Dan:
“Everybody tells you how to live your life,” he said. “But that’s while they’re living theirs and not surviving through our problems. I’m in my 60s. I lived tied up in a box five years. Childlike, Barbara can no longer spell a word.
“A trailblazer who overcame everything, she was transcultural. She didn’t have straight hair. She was a face in magazines. Her beauty products sold in major stores. She brought people together. People of color. Her restaurants made everyone feel welcome.”
Criticized now for his current relationship with another woman, he says: “Barbara’s being cared for and loved. She’s not in a box. Not struggling or dying. I have a seven-bedroom house, in partnership with an assisted-living facility, still handling our Bed Bath & Beyond products, working on a documentary about her and trying to do a radio show.
“I take care of Barbara. I’ll always take care of her. My daughter, Dana, who’s 32, is caring for her. My ladyfriend Alexandra is taking care. We’ve gone through the whole circle of brain foundations. Diagnosed with dementia in 2013, Barbara then told me to live my life. It would maybe not be bad if I weren’t so lonely.
“Alex’s father suffered with this same illness. She saw her father who was all alone become a child. She understands what this is like. She was married, had three children and the husband left her. Look, we all watch over Barbara. We take walks with her. We are all caring for her.”
Thursday, 11 a.m., Shangela — who played Lady Gaga’s drag queen godmother in “A Star Is Born,” plus Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, plus “RuPaul’s Drag Race”— turns Times Square into “Boa Boulevard.” They’ll fight for the Guinness World Record of — ready? — longest feather boa. One’s schlepping something 1.2 miles long — which, in case anyone asks, is nearly four times the length of the Empire State Building.
Praise Busey onstage
Come October, Gary Busey’s God — but not exactly omnipresent and infinite, etc., etc. He’s an Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominee, but only an itsy finite little off-Broadway God. It’s the Theatre at St. Clements. “Only Human” got created in some nirvana called Oklahoma City.
Limited engagement. He just divines through Jan. 5. The show is about co-workers Jesus and Lucifer. They have creative differences so, when all hell breaks loose, it’s a comedy with biblical kick-ass pop rock.
Robocalls fool all of us
My housekeeper, Nazalene, from Guyana, has been here longer than the Rockies. You’ll recall she watered an orchid plant until, three months later, she realized no flower ever fell off it. The thing was fake. Made of felt.
Yesterday. The phone rings. Over and over. Constantly. Nonstop. We’re besieged. Answering, she tells me: “Again. It’s Robert. What’s he want? Make him stop.” Annoyed, I grab the receiver and bark, “What do you want now?”
Not Robert. It’s robot.
“I love watching ancient ’60s and ’70s pictures on Turner Classic Movies — but some of those films are just too old to be kept up that late.”
Muttered only in New York, kids, only in New York.
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