Sunday, March 24, 2019

Stories and poems

An early story of mine, "Music of the Stairs," can be read on the website of Frontera--a new bilingual magazine:

"Research," a piece of flash fiction, was published in the Australian web journal Scum:

And you can find two short poems, "[Recovery]"  and "We of Few," in these journals:



"It's like a pop-up book," said my friend Peter, about the play we'd just seen--NASSIM--which is named for its Iranian author, Nassim Soleimanpour, and has to do with, among other things, the challenges he's faced in getting his work into the world, and the need to overcome the barriers of language and culture that divide us. It was an astute observation:  NASSIM wasn't like anything else I've seen--but it was a bit like a picture book, and I ended up seeing it twice.

The first time, late last year, I thought, my sisters (both educators) would love this.  Then in January, my sisters were coming to town for a long weekend, and discount tickets were available, so I seized the opportunity, knowing that the show would be different since the guest actor would be different from the one I'd seen.  But there would be Farsi lessons, there would be tomatoes, and there would be audience participation.

My sisters loved the show, and, once again, I did, too.

It's running through April 20 at City Center, and for some performances you can find out who the guest actor will be.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The Talking Band's latest

I'm a huge fan of the Talking Band--for me, one of NYC's finest theatrical treasures--but I sometimes miss their shows because, typically, they only do one a year, running a mere 2-3 weeks.

This year, along with a couple of friends, I'm going to their latest--City of No Illusions--on opening night, 2/8, at La Mama. 

Here's how they describe the show, which runs through February 24:

"Set near the U.S. - Canadian border in Buffalo, New York, a funeral home run by two twin sisters has inadvertently become a sanctuary for two young immigrants."

 They're currently offering $20 tickets for the first four performances, with the discount code CITY1.
How can you resist? 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

A Question of Honor . . .

Or, in Italian, Una questione d'onore.  Directed by Luigi Zampa and released in 1966, it's a broad satire of family feuds and honor killings in Sardinia--darkly hilarious, outrageous, and original. And as if a documentary about the culture of the region were embedded in it, the film also offers extraordinary scenes of Sardinian music, dancing, and courtship and wedding customs. 

I just saw A Question of Honor at MOMA, where it's part of a series of films starring the actor Ugo Tognazzi, billed as Tragedies of a Ridiculous Man. I hope to catch more of the other gems in the series.

You have one more chance to see this one--on December 13, at 7:30.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Closing this weekend--Don't miss!

I just saw a terrific production of Maxim Gorky's first play, Meshahnye, at the Theater for the New City. Written in 1901 and first produced a year later, it's a drama of family conflict during the upheaval of pre-revolutionary Russia.  Director and co-translator Jenny Sterlin introduced the show with a warning that the intermission would be a "hard" 10 minutes because "it's a long play--it's Russian."   Long it is--we got out a few minutes before 11--but worth every minute.

It closes on September 30.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Vietnam Veterans Plaza

Somehow I didn't realize, or had forgotten until this month, that New York City has a memorial to Vietnam veterans, created in the same era as the one in Washington, DC, the early 1980s. It's a small riverside park on South Street called Vietnam Veterans Plaza. Two days ago, thinking about John McCain, I stopped and spent some time there.

Etched on the glass wall are quotations from writings of New Yorkers who served in Vietnam, including this letter from LT JG Richard W. Strandberg:  "One thing worries me--will people believe me?  Will they want to hear about it or will they want to forget the whole thing ever happened."  And this, from a poem by Major Michael Davis O'Donnell, written shortly before he was killed in action on March 24, 1970:

And in that time  When men decide and
Feel safe to call the war insane . . .
Take a moment to embrace those
Gentle heroes you left behind . . .

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Aretha, now

If you happen to see this on August 19, right now, and till midnight, WKCR (89.9) is playing nonstop Aretha.

Can't tear myself away.