Monday, August 13, 2012

An Ode to the Lower East Side of New York

                               My grandfather was a butcher,
                               And my father cut the meat,
                               And I'm a little hot dog,
                               That runs around the street.
                             As everyone was an immigrant,
                             We were all very poor,

                             But as we started to gain traction,
                             We moved to the suburbs more and more.

                              We were replaced by Black folks,
                              Who were the "new" very poor,
                              But they too outgrew Delancey Street,
                              And Puerto Ricans came to the fore.

                              The Latinos chose to stay there,
                              And they made the Lower East Side their home,

                                     And now the place is gentrified,
                                     And they are not alone.

                                     Where once stood only tenements,
                                     There now stand some coffee shops,
                                     And also Schillers' Liquor Bar,
                                     To Commemorate my Pops.

                                        And to add to the rich culture
                                        There's now Shakespeare In The Park(ing) Lot
                                        It's happening all summer,
                                        And it surely hits the spot.

                                       So let me say to everyone,
                                       That enjoys this fun event,
                                       It all started from some immigrants,
                                       Who sold hot dogs to pay their rent.

Friday, August 10, 2012

What's Worse, No Son or No Life?

Is there anyone who hasn't seen Moonstruck? Considering that it's on the TV at least once a week, I find that hard to imagine. In my viewing habits, it rivals Groundhog Day as the movie I see parts of most often on TV. Of course, if Mel Gibson hadn't been exposed as the bigoted loon that he is, forcing me to boycott his movies, I think Moonstruck/Groundhog could have had some serious competition from the Lethal Weapon movies. And, coming in a very close second is Bruce Willis' Die Hard movies.

So, when I read the article in The Daily Buzz titled World's smelliest man has gone 38 years without bathing, and it explains that he has NO SON, and, he won't bath until he has one. Rather than paraphrase all of this nuttiness, I invite you to read it for yourself, where you will learn about his wife, his seven daughters, his god, and his marijuana "fire baths". Everyone needs a good laugh on a rainy day.

Now, I ask, what's worse No Son, or No Life, as poor Ronny Cammareri (Nicholas Cage) explained to Loretta (Cher) in the bakery scene from Moonstruck.

O.K. I admit it, I could watch that film as many times as they are willing to put it on TV. My favourite scenes are the bakery scene, breakfast after the opera scene, the pre-opera scene where Ronny and Loretta meet at the fountain, the Cosmo's Moon scene, and of course, Loretta explaining to Ronny that he is a wolf scene. I only skip the slow moving college professor scenes which just don't have the pace and wit that the rest of the movie has.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Marvin Hamlisch: Thanks for Everything

Marvin Hamlisch died on Monday at the age of 68. His Broadway and movie music was the music I grew up on. I will give you a view of some of his wonderful work in a moment, but first, I want to spend a moment on the state of art education in the public school system.
Mr. Hamlisch in recent years, has been a crusader for art education in the schools, touring the United States and performing and talking at schools across the country. To quote from Mr. Hamlisch:
“I don’t think the American government gets it,” he said during an interview at the Orange County High School of the Arts in Santa Ana, Calif. “I don’t think they understand it’s as important as math and science. It rounds you out as a person. I think it gives you a love of certain things. You don’t have to become the next great composer. It’s just nice to have heard certain things or to have seen certain things. It’s part of being a human being.”
At P.S. 216 George J Ryan Junior High School, in Flushing, my alma mater, we had periodic assemblies (I can't remember the frequency) where the entire grade was brought into the assembly hall, and we were given the words to various Broadway Shows, and we sang. I still know almost every word to songs like On the Street Where You Live and I Could Have Danced All Night, and sing them periodically to myself. I loved them then, and I love them now. 
In my last blog I mentioned how important math is to a well rounded education, well, just as Mr. Hamlisch said above, so are the arts.
Now let's enjoy some music....
This is a little diddy that Marvin wrote at age 21:

And, of course, that wonderful Newman/ Redford film, The Sting:

And, The Way We Were. Here's Barbra Streisand singing the theme song:

And, here's Caryl Simon singing the theme song to The Spy Who Loved Me (Nobody Does It Better):

And finally, from A Chorus Line

Well done!