Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday Memories: Soothing the Savage ... Pick Two

Didn't always have a television, but always had a record player.

When things got tough, slipping on a pair of headphones and putting on a beloved record became my own escape to better times, even if they only happened in my dreams.

Soothing the savage breast, as it were.

Times change, things get moved around and around and who knew how great T.V. was for getting lost.

And then they invented Netflix.

But old habits die hard and soon the record player had to have a home again.

So what if the savage breast didn't need any soothing and dreams were coming true more and more every day.  It was so nice to hear the old records again.

The cats, on the other hand, didn't think so.

There was only one thing to do: get up there to that big animal that kept running around and around...

...and then kill it.

But just like long ago, the music soothed the savage beasts.  At least until lunch.

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Dude Is A Lady!!!



She tells Boston stories like they are from New York!

She tells New York stories because they are from New York!

She tells stories!!!

AND she's telling them Monday night - April 27th - at the Bowery Poetry Club Mono-a-Mono series!!

Come one! Come all!

And catch Her Real New York!!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday Memories of Old Homes and Family from Long Ago

It was wonderful to be back.

Even though the bar stools were new and you could actually sit on them without sliding off the cracked vinyl and even though the beautiful lady wasn't living over the cash register anymore, the millions of cuts into the old wood tables of millions of initials hadn't been replaced with new shit looking old but clean.

Best of all, the ancient smell of tough drinkers and tenderhearted writers that I knew since I was a teenager drinking with Florence was still the same.

Even the bartender looked familiar.

"I've been coming here since 1975, 1976,"  I said.

"Me too," he said.

I laughed.   "What, since you were five?"

"Yeah," he said.  "My dad is J__."

One of the owners.

Those long-ago afternoons when no one was there, just us regulars drifting in late day sun, the Daily News, Post spread out on the bar, Frazier flipping through the gossip pages and the crimes that shouldn't have happened, maybe a late lunch, not even a drink, just the company we all needed to keep during those times.... occasionally, in the corner, were two little boys playing as their father checked out the beer pipes and the 100 year old wiring.

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Writer Cat Revisited

It's in the rule book.

Chapter 5.  Or Chapter 3.

If you are not allergic, you have to have a cat in order to write.

It's to ensure that even when the page is full of shit and you hate everything you ever put to pen and really why didn't you become ANYTHING ELSE other than a writer... the cat reminds you life is sweet and happiness is just good company and since you're not typing at the moment get that spot behind the ear? And perhaps it's time for a snack... a bisseleh chicken might be nice...oh you're writing again it's O.K. I can wait.  In the dark. Starving.  As you write the Great American Novel... which is more important than feeding me...

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Free-Range Playgrounds

 Of course we had a real playground to play in.  In fact, we had three.  It's just that two of them were kinda small, didn't have much stuff to climb or play on, were sometimes locked and the big kids often played in the other one.

But it didn't matter.  The whole neighborhood was our playground and we had the run of it.  Including corners like this which in those days didn't have video surveillance because there was no such thing as video.  These hidden spots became our castles and battlegrounds, our field for jacks and dodge ball.

I don't ever remember not running around the streets of the lower east side.  From the time I was four or five until I left for higher ground, I ventured forth in rain and shine, every season there was.  As long as I had finished my violin practicing and homework, the world was my oyster.

Of course there were terrible things and bad people out there.  But, last time I checked, there are terrible things and people inside too.  My stories of those moments were pretty much the same as those who spent their childhoods behind closed doors and iron wrought fences.

I learned to dodge and to survive.  It paid off when the streets got filled with crack addicts, my home got filled with idiot boyfriends, and jobs were treacherous.

Frankly, today's sidewalks filled with people texting or shouting highly personal information into their cell phones may be much less dangerous but they are much more annoying. And I wonder if, when they were kids, they ever went outside by themselves to go play in a city.

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunday Memories Encore: The Boy Next Door

Today is David's 59th birthday. All those years ago, he and Dana finally met face-to-face.   I had to wait a couple of years myself to meet him.  

What a perfect time to remember a first love.

Originally posted April 12, 2009 and revised for 2015.

He was my second love, Allan who lived in the building on Broome Street with the Fedder Air Conditioning being my first.

All that was a long time ago as today David is 59.

Still, the heart of my inner four-year-old always jumps up and down when I see him, either on the street, or at his mom's or even at Florence's memorial.

He was the boy who could make me laugh so hard that many liquids poured out of many places on me. I was never sure what exactly we were laughing about. I just knew it was rare laughter and I wanted to drown in it, it made me so happy. He was the boy who could swing upside down on the ladder to his bunk bed, and watch Hitchcock's THE BIRDS without crawling under available big pieces of furniture like I did.

And right before the Paper Bag Players began their show at the Henry Street Settlement Playhouse and I wanted to rush outside to see if my friend was waiting for me on Grand Street, he was the boy who explained what would happen if per chance I tripped on the stairs in the dark just as the curtain rose, and to this day I am not sure how he did it, but my last minute foray clearly was going to lead to the destruction of Planet Earth. Needless to say, I stayed put in my seat, terrified.

Oh but most of all, he was the boy who played Conrad Birdie in BYE BYE BIRDIE at P.S. 110 on Broome Street. When I saw him sing and dance, I almost forgot who the Beatles were.


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