Saturday, July 25, 2015


Ada/Ava--fairy tale, ghost story, and memento mori--is a work of eerie beauty and extraordinary craftsmanship, different from anything else I've seen.  I'd say it's the kind of show that's unique to New York City, only its makers--a company called Manual Cinema--are from Chicago.

They mix film, theater, puppetry,silhouettes, and music to tell a story that unfolds in overhead projection, while the audience also see the actors--in effect, human puppets--moving below, and the puppeteers sliding transparencies into the projector.  Watching them work their magic somehow makes the effect even more magical.

Ada/Ava is playing through July 26 at the Three Legged Dog,
Art and Technology Center, 80 Greenwich Street, in New York City.

After that, look for the show and its makers back in Chicago.

Sunday, March 22, 2015


I was shocked to hear from my sister Joanne, a teacher in California, that her state ranks 46th in the nation in spending on education.  It seems that the baneful effects of Proposition 13 are still with them.

Joanne just got back from the California Federation of Teachers' conference at Manhattan Beach this weekend, and sent me some words of wisdom and inspiration she heard there:

Quotes from the CFT Convention 2015

“We might not change the world, but we can spark the mind that does!”

“All great undertakings are risky.”  Socrates

“The highest risk is love.”

“Expect perfection knowing you will never get it.”

“Their pain is our pain.”

“Help people, don’t hurt them.”

 “Deformers want to derail public education and unfairly blame teachers.”

“Hope is required when growing roses in concrete.”

“We don’t blame the seed for not growing.”

“No child left off-line.”

“Give a helping hand, not a slapping hand.”

“Teachers aren’t the problem…the solution is to stop negativity and  increase positivity.”

“Teachers are ‘hope’ dealers!”

“An iPad will never replace a good teacher!”

“Empowering educators empowers students.”

“The diversity of California is our greatest strength.”

“California is the #8 economy in the WORLD, we should be #1 in funding education, not 46th!”

“If you don’t know your rights, you don’t have any.  If you know, but don’t act, you’re part of the problem!”

Speaking to the leader of the classified union [union representing school systems' non-teaching staff] after a moving speech he gave about how their union members support educators, “We know you’re not a teacher, but you taught us all today.”!

“What can we do if we all work together?”

“Corporations have money, but we have people.”

“Public education provides access to social justice.”

Friday, January 30, 2015

An Unusual Solo Show : A Kind Shot

Terri Mateer was 6' 1" by a very young age (saying just how young would be a bit of a spoiler for the beginning of her one-woman show).   Not surprisingly she played basketball--eventually on a pro team.

Mateer has quite a story to tell, and she tells (and plays) it well in A Kind Shot.  After her New York City run is done, she hopes to tour on the college circuit, where young women, in particular, will have a lot to learn from her experiences.

Mateer may not be the most polished performer I've seen, but she's one of the bravest.  Whether or not you're a basketball player or fan, seeing A Kind Shot will enlarge your world. 

Don't bring the kids, unless they're very mature; this show is definitely R-rated.  Do, however, stay for the talk-back, if there is one (the show itself is not much more than an hour).  You have through February 7. 

For tickets and further information, go to:

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Golden Toad!

I always have high expectations of a new show from The Talking Band.  But their latest, The GoldenToad, is extraordinary--not to be missed.  It may be their best yet.

As the postcard for the show says, The Golden Toad is an "original music-theater epic journey through a changing New York, tracing the shifting of identities over time and circumstances."

Mentioning any specific event in this wonderful show, thus diminishing your surprise, would qualify as a spoiler.   So I'll just say that The Golden Toad is about time, change, aging, art, love, loss, and chance--among other things.  It's beautiful and complex, rich and strange, funny and moving--altogether a masterwork.  It almost goes without saying, given The Talking Band's standards, the acting and music are terrific.

At nearly three hours, the show is long, but the moments fly by.   It's structured in four parts and a brief epilogue, with breaks for the audience to move from the current location to the next. There's one intermission during which beverages and snacks can be purchased. 
The Golden Toad only runs through February 7 at La Mama.  If reviewers love it as much as I do (to avoid spoilers, please don't actually read the reviews), it will start selling out.

Friday, January 23, 2015

"Diamondback Tales" - a poem

You can read "Diamondback Tales"*  in the latest issue of Star 82 Review online (also in their print journal).

It's listed in the Table of Contents as a Hidden Gem:

*Warning: not recommended for those suffering from snake phobia.  

Obsolete Weapons - a short story

One of my more experimental short stories, "Obsolete Weapons,"  has recently been published online and in a free e-book by Jet Fuel Review.  

It begins thus:
"How often has she wakened with just this sense of impending disaster, of needing to leave but not knowing how to go?"

To read more, visit:

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Talking Band

"ILLUMINATING THE EXTRAORDINARY DIMENSIONS OF EVERYDAY LIFE"  reads a subhead on the Talking Band's website.  It's a great description of what they do so well and so consistently.

Here's a list of favorites among the shows of theirs I've seen over the years:

Marcellus Shale (2013)
Hot Lunch Apostles (2012, 1983)
The Peripherals (2012)
The Walk Across America for Mother Earth (2011)
Panic! Eurphoria! Blackout! (2010)
Flipside (2008)
Delicious Rivers (2006)
Black Milk Quartet (1998)
Betty Buffet's Theory of Relativity (1995)
The Three Lives of Lucy Cabrol (1987)

This is the Talking Band's 40th anniversary, and their new show, The Golden Toad, is opening tomorrow night  at La Mama.