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Spike Lee talks about why his mom was so tough on him

In the ’40s, tickets were a buck and a quarter, had double features, gave out dishes and added “The Perils of Pauline” weekly series to help fill movie theaters. Today, with technology thinning those houses, they’re returning to tricks.

One East 62nd multiplex, now a Cinebistro rentable special events venue, opened with a silent film, a ’70s film and today’s “BlacKkKlansman” Spike Lee film.

Spike: “My early days were tough. I’m from a long line of educators. Mid-’70s my mother taught in Brooklyn schools. I’d ask, ‘Why you so tough on me?’ Mom was always on my black ass, kindergarten through high school. If I got an A or a B, why not an A-plus.

“I’d say, ‘Not fair.’ She had a mouth. She’d say, ‘F - - k fair.’ Black moms worked to develop their kids then. They instilled success in our generation. After class, I had to do gym, learn an instrument. I played violin. She told me, ‘You don’t do good, I’ll bust your ass.’

“My kids have private school. I didn’t go to private school. But she helped my whole career. I’d say I only want to learn film at NYU. My mother loved movies. But it was back in elementary school she taught me how to be successful. And I try doing the same with my kids.

“I loved my mother. Though she’s gone, we still have conversations. My mother’s visited me from her grave.”
Monkey business on NYC stage

The “King Kong” musical makes a monkey out of its director, who should’ve listened to Spike Lee’s mama. You can go ape during the first half. Dancers, leaping, loping, whothehellknows what or why, belong with an organ grinder.

Its lead actress/singer nice — but can’t hold the stage or the audience. But that 2,400-pound gorilla they fly up into the wings — more than a dozen puppeteer handlers, some offstage working him electronically — magnificent. Kong himself is worth a crateload of bananas to see. He could replace Megyn Kelly.
Blond ambition

Kirsten Gillibrand — sworn to secrecy — opened their throats enough to say she may limp for the Oval Office as early as year’s end.

So, is being blond essential? Trump, Hillary, Dem congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro? And today’s itchy maybes, all New Yorkers — from DJT to Cuomo, Kirsten, Bloomy, de Blasio, others who first must complete parole. What’s with the rest of the USA? Has Idaho only potatoes? Chicago only does gangsters?
Movie Talk

Julian Schnabel to Alfonso Cuarón after screening “Roma,” Cuaron’s black-and-white autobio: “Best f - - king movie you’ve ever made.” About his childhood, Cuarón said: “I don’t know exactly where I’m lying.” . . . “Widows” is a caper movie with Viola Davis, Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell and almost not Robert Duvall, who’d never heard of its “12 Years a Slave” director Steve McQueen. Duvall asked Francis Ford Coppola “Who’s McQueen?” He now knows. He’s now in the film. He’s now McQueen’s pal. He now hopes we like the movie.
Medicine man

We lost Stan Lee, 95. I knew him well. I loved Stan Lee, Marvel Comics’ onetime editor, publisher, creator, writer and whole entire nerve center. Stan Lee created “Spider-Man” and did a cameo in it. He created “The Incredible Hulk” and did a cameo in that one. He invented “Iron Man,” “X-Men,” “The Avengers.” He told me when he was bringing Spidey to Tokyo. He called me to say China’s government bestowed carte blanche on him to do business there.

Stan Lee. A kind, gentle, loving man.

A 57th Street lawyer: “Trump should appoint Chris Christie as attorney general. He’d close the bridge over the Potomac so Mueller couldn’t get to work every day.”

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