The Arts, The Forty-Ninth Week of the Second Year in the New Abnormal
I’m watching Barbra Streisand on PBS in her Back to Brooklyn concert. The first time I heard her voice was in 1968 when the movie Funny Girl came out. I was enthralled, though I wouldn’t have known that word as an eight-year-old. Since then I’ve been a fan, attending her movies, and watching her tv specials. I only had the opportunity to see her in-person once when she came back to Brooklyn in 2016. It was magical.
Tattle Tales, The Fourteenth Week in the Second Year of the New Abnormal
I grew up with three siblings. If you grew up with siblings, as I did, you are familiar with the age-old enterprise of tattling. My younger sister, Susan, now Chova Sara, was the tattletale. She was the one that thought it important to report to my parents, usually our mom, whatever misadventures we were enacting. When I was six to her four, she ran to our mom to say I wasn’t letting her play with my Barbies. This was true, but only because she cut their hair and drew on them with crayons. Nonetheless, I had to release more dolls to her based on “fairness.” This made no sense to me, but she got what she wanted, and it spurred her on for years.
Live Music, The Seventh Week of the Second Year in the New Abnormal
Halloween Weekend, Week Forty-Four in the New Abnormal
It’s Halloween Weekend and the city is ready for the many trick or treaters at every age. As a child of the sixties our Halloween was comprised of a trip to Kiddie City to pick out a cardboard box with a clear window displaying the plastic mask with a thin mouth opening with two nostril holes for labored breathing that allowed for a muffled song of “trick or treat” at the door of kind home-owners who distributed candy, both great and questionable. My favorite candy were plain Hershey chocolate bars, M&Ms, Twizzlers, or Good and Plenty. I was not a fan of the chalky Necco Wafers or boxes of raisins. We had plenty of fruit and raisins in our home, so I was on the lookout for forbidden treats that I would hide in the back of my closet.
Another Year Older, Week Thirty-Five in the New Abnormal
Today I turn 63. In my 20s and 30s I wanted a lot of celebrating. By 40, after I started my present career as a psychotherapist, low key became my preferred option. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted recognition. Sometimes, I say with some embarrassment, I demanded recognition. But smaller became better for me. Today I took myself to the Bronx to walk among the August flowers at the New York Botanical Gardens.
Awards, Week Thirteen in the New Transition
Though award shows don’t hold the same cache as they did in my childhood, this weekend is the Academy Awards. Fraught with politics and self-promotion, the awards have lost some of their shimmer. Yet, while growing up I wrote and rewrote my acceptance speeches. It was my fantasy of ultimate success. If I felt insignificant or hurt, my bright future would prove to the world I was somebody. My bullies would see I was special. That was my secret revenge.
Thank you Mr. Sondheim, Week 31 in the Time of Transition
I was working at Strawbridge and Clothier in the Men’s shoe department. This was a branch in the Echelon Mall in Voorhees, NJ, a short commute to Philadelphia. I was a student at Rutger’s University in Camden, still a theater major, though I would finish with a degree in English. Paul Puccio, an English major at another college, who worked in Men’s Furnishings, introduced me to the music of Stephen Sondheim. I was 18 years old. He was enamored with Follies and Alexis Smith. He invited me over to his home where I listened to his original Broadway cast album with Paul narrating to a neophyte. I was changed for life.
Free Shakespeare in the Park
On a sweltering Tuesday in August, in my first full summer as a New York City resident, I was nervous and excited about the prospect of obtaining free tickets to A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. The day in 1982 was hazy, and the great lawn was full of picnickers all with numbers for a place in line. I was number 26. I had gotten there so early, maybe 7 AM to ensure my audience participation. And, I was far from the first one in line. But with a coffee and an H&H bagel for breakfast, I felt well-prepared. Hour after hour of baking in the sun, I was a lucky recipient of two tickets...