Monday, July 24, 2017

Shanghai Literary Review

Just got my copy in the mail of The Shanghai Literary Review with several of my notebook drawings published in full color. Nice job. Thank you Shanghai

Saturday, July 22, 2017

John Heard 1945-2017

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Summer No. 6. July 2017

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

oddball July 2017

Sunday, July 16, 2017

George Romero 1940-2017

Martin Landau 1928-2017

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Nana Mary

             During the very hot summer of 1953, My mother was worried about the treatment I was getting from my father and my sister. I was 6 years old and they both were abusive and mean to me. My mother was worried about me and she did all that she could do to protect me from them, and finally she took drastic action. She decided on a hot summer morning during that summer of 1953 to send me to Connecticut to Nana Mary’s. Now Nana Mary was not my nana. When I was really young even younger than my precious 6 years that I was that hot summer of 1953, I could not pronounce Nana’s name which was Anna Mary. It came out as Nana Mary and that’s what I called her.
             She was beautiful. Italian with dark hair like my mom’s and with a sad smile that was sexy to all the men who were attracted to her and came to adore her. I adored her and my mother also adored her best friend. Nana had 3 sons Tony the oldest, Richard the middle boy and Joey who was her youngest and was severely mentally retarded as it was known back in those days.
              So on a hot Saturday of 93 degrees we took the subway from Brooklyn to The Grand Central Station and took a train to Moodus Conneticut where Nana Mary lived on a small farm with her 3 sons and no husband. Nana had been married three times and had her sons with each husband before they either died or left. I vaguely remember the third husband a stapling red headed Irish man who was a fireman and worked out of our local firehouse not far from our small apartment.
                  I can still smell the oil and grease of the place, and always stick my head in any firehouse that I might pass on my walks in the city, where I’m hit with the coolness and smells of the place, and the memories of my childhood. There was no air conditioning on the subways back then, so everyone tried to sit under or close to the old slow moving fans that hung from the low ceilings of the cars, and we barely moved much.
                I had my little suitcase that was packed with my summer clothes along with a big pad and a big box of Crayola Crayons but no swim suit even though there was a small lake near the farm. My mother made a point of telling Nana that I was not to go near the lake or to go swimming. I didn’t know how to swim and never would learn. My mother had a fear of water because an uncle had drowned in the ocean when she was young, and this caused her to be loud, vocal and fearful about my water activities  which didn’t exist.  I had never been to Grand Central Station and I was in awe of it, what 6 year old wouldn’t be. The size of it was overwhelming for this child and all those people rushing about made me dizzy and excited.  I held my mother’s hand and didn’t stop looking up and around me ,and ah the coolness of the space. I wanted to move there, but instead we got on a sleek early 50’s train and were gone from the city. My mother left my father a note “Gone for a while.” And that was it, and that was that.

To be continued.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Liu Xiaobo 1955-2017

And donald trump still walks this earth. unfair

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Summer #5. July 2017

Claudius Speaks

This was a long time coming. It kept getting pushed back. They are suppose to give me a 15.00 fee also, I won't hold my breath.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Get Out 2017

A big unexpected money maker and critical hit (it got a 99% rating on rotten tomatoes) from last Winter is this small scale labor of love horror film that wears it’s bleeding heart (metaphorically) and influences on its tattered sleeve.
Written and directed by Jordan Peele who is a partner in the successful comedy team of Peele and Key this movie is not at all what you would expect from an African American comedian and is not for everyone but I can without any reservations say see it especially if you are into horror movies.
It’s influences are wide and varied from the history of horror films, it’s like a bulletin board with tacked up sources such as Rosemary’s Baby, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Eyes Without a Face, Night of the living dead, Carnival of Souls, The Stepford Wives and even Frankenstein (it’s alive) along with a large bowl of comedy sources especially Abbott and Costello who hover around like a drone with regards to the second banana supporting appearance of a hilarious LilRel Howery as a TSA employee and the best friend of the male lead who is not only funny but wise.
The plot is lean and I have to be careful here not to give any of the secrets, twists and turns away because it is tempting but that would make me one of the bad ones. A nice mixed racial couple Rose and Chris played by Allison Williams of “Girls” fame and a newcomer to me, the British actor Daniel Kaluuya (both of whom are terrific) go on a weekend trip to visit Rose’s parents somewhere deep in some out of the way place.
Chris has some misgivings about this visit since Rose has not told her parents that Chris is black, but so what “it doesn’t matter” she tells him because mom and pop are intellectuals and liberal. Dad is a neurosurgeon and Mom is a psychiatrist with strong belief and leanings in hypnosis.
The first ominous warning we get is as the couple moon and spoon and chit chat while driving and they hit a deer oh dear. Not good especially when they have to deal with a local cop who is suspicious because she is white and he is black and of course he asks him for ID even though Rose was driving.
We are in racial territory now and just where is this movie going I asked as I nervously spilled my cranberry juice all over myself. Note do not drink or eat while watching this movie for a variety of reasons. Mom played by the great Catherine Keener is welcoming but somewhat cold and dad played by Bradley Whitford is over welcoming and condescending and tells Chris he would have voted for Obama a third time if he could. Also around the dinner table is the nasty race baiting brother of Rose along with the black housekeeper and black gardener who are acting strange and take part in a jaw dropping nighttime outdoor scene that is guaranteed to shake you up. I’ll stop here with the plot but I will say that you will never look at a cup of tea the same way after you see this film. One of the best films of the year so far and don’t be surprised to see the film next year at the Oscars.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Summer 4. July 2017

Monday, July 03, 2017

Marjorie morningstar 1958


A very precious love. Made in 1958 but looking like a throw back to all those glamorous woman weepies of the 1940’s, this one was actually directed by one of the kings of that genre Irving Rapper. A Warner Bros. contract director Rapper made some of the best Bette Davis movies including the divine and dripping with tears and silliness “Now Voyager”  and “Deception.” Marjorie was based on a Herman Wouk novel and set among the upper middle class Jews of New York City which alone was an unusual and somewhat brave plot device for this kind of movie to take on at the time.
                             The film opens with Ed Wynn who plays Uncle Samson arriving at the Morgenstern’s new apartment on Central Park West on the day of their young son’s Bar Mitzvah and there is even a sequence of the ceremony along with a scene of a Passover seder later on in the film. Their young 17 year old daughter Marjorie played by Natalie Wood who by the way is so breathtakingly beautiful that I gasped when she makes her first appearance. Marjorie is smitten with the theater and is smart and itchy to start her life preferably away from her always looming parents played by Everett Sloane and Claire Trevor but she is on her way to Hunter College like it or not.
                      She is goaded by her best friend the tartly tantalizing somewhat wild Carolyn Jones, who talks her into taking a job with her as a summer counselor at an all girls camp. Soon they are row row rowing their canoe across the lake to the adult summer resort that is host to the somewhat lazy and rundown summer stock theatre group run by Gene Kelly a failed composer who has been working on his musical forever without much success and longs for the fame that constantly eludes him . 
             Kelly was too old for the part and was at the end of his impressive career in movie musicals, his bad toupee didn’t help matters, but he still had his sex appeal and charm and if you squint a bit he can squeeze his 46 years to a workable 33. Natalie is soon smitten with Gene who gives her the name of Marjorie Morningstar and they start an affair that is rough and unhappy. There are several other suitors knocking at her door including Ed Burns a few months away from his kookie days on tv, Martin Balsam as a doctor, and Martin Milner as the loyal assistant to Gene Kelly who makes it big on Broadway in a wink of the eye, but Natalie only has eyes for Gene. The film opened at Radio City Music Hall and was a hit with the teen set (my sister adored it) and was generally panned by the critics but that didn’t stop the audiences from flocking to see it, especially since it had a big hit song running through it, “A Very Precious Love.” The restoration is pretty nice with saturated colors and the 50’s clothes are wonderful, and then there’s Natalie.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

June 2017

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